Cheney Free Press -

Cheney Rodeo gets support, could use more

In Our Opinion


Cowboys and cowgirls, grab your hats and boots because it’s once again rodeo weekend.

Held on the second weekend in July every year, the Cheney Rodeo is an opportunity for residents and visitors to watch some pretty darn good rodeo at the Bi-Mart Arena, as well as take in other activities in the city, like the Saturday parade, Rodeo Round Up and Happy Hoofers Fun Run. It’s a whole weekend where the city and businesses can come together and showcase Cheney’s beauty.

While the Cheney Rodeo is probably not as big compared to larger events like The Pendleton Round-Up or the Calgary Stampede, it attracts many competitors from the professional circuit.

This year the rodeo will celebrate its 50th year. Back in 1968, the Cheney Rodeo Corporation, with assistance from the junior chamber of commerce, came together to hold the first rodeo. There was a lot that went wrong that first year, such as volunteers having to rebuild the chutes the day before the rodeo began.

It’s one thing for an event to go on for four to five years, but it seems once you get to the 10th anniversary, you really have something special. For an event like the rodeo, that’s done solely by volunteers, to make it to 50 years, and with no public funding, it shows the commitment and dedication the Rodeo Association has in putting it on.

Many of the rodeo’s founders have passed away in the last few years. There is a new Rodeo Association president who came on board, which will help keep the event going and breathe new life into the organization.

But the association could always use more volunteers. Events like this are powered by the hard work and dedication of volunteers and if more people don’t get involved, Rodeo Weekend, and the activities associated with it, could ride off into the sunset.

A couple of avenues for the association to recruit volunteers would be students from the local middle schools and high school that aren’t already volunteering.

Being involved in the rodeo would allow young people the opportunity to learn more about different aspects of the event, such as how ranchers get livestock ready for the competition. They also get a behind the scenes look at the event, which could lead them to getting more involved with the association when they become adults.

Another demographic filled with potential volunteers is Eastern Washington University. It’s difficult to get students involved when they leave for the summer, but the association could reach out to them during the school year. Local young adults and organizations can get involved with the rodeo too.

It could be as simple as having these volunteers help at the rodeo grounds clean up the area and fix bleachers during one of the work days.

The community could get a little more behind the rodeo as well. While it’s nice to see city employees and officials drive in the parade and appear at events, it would be great to bring back a community float, similar to what cities like Davenport and Chewelah bring to other parades. It would take a lot of planning to build and maintain the float — and a structure to house it before the event — but it would be another thing the city could show off during the rodeo.

While there is a Miss Cheney Rodeo every year, perhaps a pageant among local high school students could lead to a Miss Cheney being crowned — similar to the royalty from other cities participating in the parade.

We want to say congratulations to the Cheney Rodeo for running for 50 years. We hope it’s around for 50 more, but for that to happen it’s going to take more involvement from the community and its residents to help keep it going.


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