A sleepy community for most of the year, Stonyford will come alive May 4-6, when an estimated 5,000 people crowd into town to view the 75th annual Stonyford Rodeo.
If you are not a rodeo fan, Stonyford is still the place to be, with fishing, camping, dirt bike riding, and hiking in the great outdoors. Stonyford is an eastern gateway to the million-plus acre Mendocino Forest, whose Fouts Springs community offers dirt-bike outings, and whose Letts Lake features swimming and fishing for bass and trout.
If you love rodeo, Stonyford is also the place to be. The Stonyford Rodeo will celebrate its 75th year as an annual event, and its 43rd as a Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association event. The first rodeo was held at a local ranch in 1943. From 1944 to 1948, the rodeo was held in a vacant town lot, and in 1949 it was first held on the present acreage, where it continues until the present day.
In 1964, the rodeo became a member of the Western Fairs Association, then the California Cowboys Association in 1970. It became a professional rodeo in 1976, when it joined with PRCA, Inc.
“It is a lively affair and draws rodeo riders—both professional and amateur—from all around America,” said Rodeo spokesman Roy Stewart.
This year, the Stonyford Rodeo features J. J. Harrison as barrelman and clown, and John Payne—aka The One Arm Bandit & Company—as its specialty act. Don Jesser will announce, as he has for the past 24 years. The stock contractor is the Bridwell Pro Rodeo Company (formerly Growney Bros), out of Red Bluff.
“Unfortunately, there are no close-by motels—the nearest are 30-40 miles away in Willows, Williams, or Colusa—but the camping is great,” Stewart said. “There is a large campground behind the arena. Here people will find a congenial group of rodeo-loving campers, many of whom come to this great rodeo every year.”
There are two lakeside campgrounds nearby, the closest being two miles south of the rodeo grounds, and the other eight miles east, both are along different parts of the large East Park Reservoir. Refer to the rodeo’s website, www.stonycreekhorsemen.org, for more information.
Presale rodeo tickets are available through today only any of these area locations: Stonyford General Store; Carl’s Feed, Willows; Boot Barn, Chico, Anderson & Yuba City; Bucke’s Feed, Orland; Marie’s Lakeshore Feed, Clearlake; Rainbow Ag, Lakeport; Ace Hardware, Arbuckle; and Hust Bros., Colusa (formerly, Colusa Motor Sales). Pre-rodeo tickets purchased from any of the businesses listed above are $10 for adults and $6 for children 7-12 years and older; children 6 years and under are free. Tickets purchased at the gate are $15 and $7. The parade will begin at 10 AM; Rodeo at 1 PM. on Saturday. Rodeo begins at noon on Sunday.
Also, don’t forget to pick up a copy of the new, 75th anniversary book, 75 Years and Counting, A History of the Stony Creek Horsemen’s Association, Inc., and its Rodeos and Parades. The book costs $25 and is available for mail-order purchase ($4 s/h) by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org, or at any of the following locations: Stonyford General Store; Susan’s Country Cuts, in Elk Creek; Willows Hardware, Ace Hardware, or the Burnham Veterinary Clinic, in Willows. They will also be available for purchase at the rodeo.■