“Grab Your Spurs, Put On Your Hat, Maxwell Rodeo Is Where It’s At” is the theme of the 89th Maxwell Rodeo, but don’t expect Grand Marshal Marie Spooner to ride a horse down Oak Street to kick off the May 18 festivities that include a parade, horse show, classic car show, frog derby, and lots of rodeo action.
“I’m 98 years old,” Spooner said. “I don’t even know how to ride a horse.”
Spooner was born in 1921, in Willows, and lived with her parents, Barney and Polly Alves, four sisters, and one brother on the east side of the Sacramento River, near Princeton.
In 1940, she married John Azevedo, of Maxwell. The couple operated a dairy, raised bees, rice and kiwi, and had an apple orchard, from which Spooner became famous for making pies for local charity auctions, and together they were primary donors for the Maxwell Pool. She is also an avid gardener and was well known for entering baked and canned goods in the Colusa County Fair.
Spooner was an active volunteer with the women’s Junior League in Maxwell, the Maxwell Tuesday Club, and has been a longtime member and volunteer with Sacred Heart Parish. She performed all over the county and in Maxwell with Gladys Lund’s dance group.
“I was very involved in the coummunity when I lived in Maxwell,” she said.
The Maxwell Rodeo Advisory Committee selected Spooner to serve as Grand Marshal because of her active presence in the community for nearly eight decades.
“I think it is a real honor,” Spooner said. “I felt very pleased that they picked me.”
Spooner said she loves the Maxwell Rodeo, which was especially important when her three children, Ron, Vicki (deceased) and Sara were active in Maxwell High School and involved in planning events.
Being Grand Marshal is also an honor she shares with her son, Ron, a former Grand Marshal who every year serves in the parade’s Color Guard with the Maxwell American Legion.
Although she moved to Williams in 1995 when she married rice farmer Chester Spooner (deceased), Spooner attends the Maxwell Rodeo every year to visit with family and see all her friends.
“I’ve been to the rodeo every year,” she said. “I’ve never missed a year. It is a wonderful tradition, and Maxwell is very special to me. I lived there for 55 years.” ■