The Stony Creek Horsemen’s Association were back in the saddle this past weekend with their first post-pandemic rodeo.
The 78th annual Stonyford Rodeo got underway on Friday night with the grand entry of 2021 Stonyford Rodeo Queen Michaela Decker, followed by professional bull and saddle bronc riding.
Decker, 23, of Anderson, twice competed for the opportunity to reign over the rodeo prior to Friday’s competition win, and was first-runner up in 2016.
Jillian Edwards, 17, of Leesville, was first runner-up.
The three-day event followed a long tradition of rodeo in Stonyford that started in 1943 at the Dick Moore ranch, before the events were moved to vacant land where the rodeo grounds now stand.
Saturday’s festivities included a pancake breakfast hosted by the Indian Valley/Bear Valley Fire Department, the 36th annual rodeo parade, and rodeo events like bareback riding, steer roping, tie-down roping, WPRA barrel racing, and the new event of WPRA breakaway roping.
JJ Harrison returned as barrelman and specialty act. Veteran announcer Kelly Kenney replaced Don Jesser, who retired after the 2019 rodeo. The Bridwell Pro Rodeo Company provided the stock, as they have done for past rodeos.
The 2021 Stonyford Rodeo and Rodeo Parade was dedicated to Germaine Burrows, who rode through town as Grand Marshal in the Horsemen’s antique surrey with her family.
Burrows was born and raised in Stonyford and has been a member of the Stony Creek Horsemen’s Association since the early 1990s. She began her rodeo work by assisting her mother, the late Eleanor Bill, in making and selling Indian Tacos.
Burrows is currently a director of the association and manages the large campgrounds behind the arena. She worked for the U.S. Forest Service on the Mendocino Forest, where she retired after more than 30 years. She is a mother, grandmother and great grandmother, with two sons, three granddaughters, two grandsons, and a new great-granddaughter. Bruce Loudon replaced longtime parade announcer Denny Bungarz, who died on June 25, 2020.
“The last 36 years, this parade has been fun for kids as well as adults,” said Loudon, who moved from Washington about two years ago. “I am a newcomer to Stonyford, but I’ll tell you what, this really is a fine little town. You talk about true rural America; this town’s got it all, and I have really enjoyed that.”
While Stonyford and East Park Reservoir had less attendance than usual the first weekend in May, the Stonyford Rodeo still drew several thousand people to the small town in the western foothills of Colusa County.
The rodeo, which was canceled in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, is considered the lifeblood for the business community and is a popular event for professional rodeo riders to qualify for spots in national competitions.
The rodeo wrapped up Sunday with amateur events. §