Stonyford put on its first rodeo, an amateur outing, in 1939. It proved to be so popular that the Stony Creek Horsemen’s Association was formed in 1943 to manage it as an annual affair. In 1945, it took on a professional tone when it came under the auspices of the California Cowboy Association (CCA). It became a PRCA event in 1976.
In 1948 the rodeo moved to its present location. A fire in 1950 burned it to the ground, along with most of the other buildings in town. But it was rebuilt. Fire, however, visited the rodeo again in 1960. Rebuilt again in 1961, fires have stayed away and the grounds have undergone continuous improvements, most of which depended on volunteer labor by Stony Creek Horsemen members, with some help from the larger community.
While it’s true that we are a small town, our rodeo weekend offers big-town fun. The weekend begins on Friday evening with a barrel race at 6:30. On Saturday the day begins with breakfast from 7 to 10 a.m., then moves on to a charming small-town parade at 10 a.m. The rodeo begins at 1 p.m. and runs from 3 to 3 ½ hours. Later in the evening, there is dancing at the Timberline Bar and Restaurant. It all starts again on Sunday with breakfast from 7 to 10 a.m., Sunday services at either of our two churches: The non-denominational Stonyford Community Church or the Indian Valley Assembly of God Church. The rodeo starts at noon.
Stonyford is too small to have its own commercial lodging; however, it has three great camping areas. The most popular is located directly behind and within walking distance to the rodeo arena. The second in popularity is along the shoreline of the East Park Reservoir. The Stonyford end of the reservoir is located two miles from the rodeo arena and offers many delightful camping spots. The third camping area is on the other side of the reservoir, at the Lodoga end. This is about an eight-mile drive from the arena; however, the camping sites are plentiful and offer more “nooks and crannies” than on the Stonyford end. But, if camping is not your style, there are nice motels located in Willows and Williams, both about 40-miles distant. Come on out and join the fun.
Tickets this year can be purchased over the Internet. They can also be purchased at several area businesses, and at the gate. Please visit us at www.stonycreekhorsemen.org for ticket information and to stay current on rodeo happenings. ■