The history of the Stony Creek Horsemen’s Association and Stonyford Rodeo has been told in words and photos from the past 75 years.
Roy Stewart and Joyce Bond have released their much-anticipated book “75 Years and Counting,” which celebrates three quarters of a century of rodeo in the foothills in western Colusa County.
Stewart said he got the idea to do the book during the appreciation day dinner, following the 74th Stonyford Rodeo last May.
Stewart said the book is not only a tribute to the people who started the Stonyford Rodeo and kept it going, but all the fans and contestants that made it possible.
“The first chapter is the early years of how it got started, and the people who were prominent – like the Moore family, and the Flying Cossacks,” Stewart said.
The Moore family is believed to be Stonyford’s earliest residents, as their Pomo Native American roots predate the town’s founding in 1860.
The patriarch, Stewart noted, was Dick Moore, born of a Pomo mother and American father.
It was his children Irene, Beulah, Earl, Lawrence, known as “Sharky,” and Amelia who were instrumental in the formation of the Horsemen’s Association in 1943. His grandchildren and great-grandchildren, including Stonyford’s Zoe Brandenberger, have carried the rodeo tradition forward, Bond said.
The first rodeo was held on the Moore ranch in 1943, but the land where the rodeo is currently held was purchased for $10 in 1948. It consisted of two parcels totaling 61.47 acres, which provide a setting for an arena, with its bleachers, grandstands, announcer/judges stand, press box, chutes, and corrals, as well as a setting for concession stands, a cook shack, office, parking and campground.
“The first rodeo held on this property was likely in 1949,” Stewart said.
Stewart said “likely” because a fire in 1950 destroyed the records.
Fire came through the town again in 1960, destroying the entire rodeo grounds, but that didn’t stop the Horsemen from starting anew.
“They rebuilt,” Stewart said. “Every year, they built more items; they restored things.”
The book “75 Years and County” is available to the public for $25 at the Stonyford Museum, the Stonyford Store and Country Cuts, and will be available during the rodeo at the vendor locations, Bond said.
The book is filled with photographs of the rodeo and town parades, which date back to the Gay Nineties events of the 1930s, the forerunner of the rodeo.
The book also contains photos of the Stonyford Rodeo queens, and has the names of nearly every contestant since the mid 1950s, when programs were first printed.
Because Bond had programs and scrapbooks available, Stewart said he was able to compile the book in about four months.
“I got started in late June, and finished it in November,” Stewart said.
Stonyford will host its 75th rodeo May 5-6. Saturday events begin with breakfast at the fire hall, followed by the parade. Rodeo gets underway with the Grand Entry at 1 PM. Sunday’s events begin at noon.
This year’s theme is “Stonyford Rodeo: 75 Years of Fans.”
“The rodeo is dedicated this year to rodeo fans,” Bond said.
Grand Marshalls will be Barney Cook and daughter, Sandy Corbin, and guests of honor will be the Flying Cossacks (Moore Family).
“Everyone is getting anxious,” Bond said. “It will be a big thing.”
For more information about the rodeo visit stonycreekhorsemen.org. ■