Charlene LaGrande is a longtime Williams resident, but she’s a Maxwell gal through and through.
The 1969 graduate of Maxwell High School is this year’s grand marshal of the Maxwell Rodeo Parade.
Maxwell High School’s 87th annual rodeo kicks off Saturday, May 20, with a host of activities, including a 5K run, bull riding, mutton bustin’s, frog jumping, car show, bench press competition, chuck wagon and more.
LaGrande will be riding horseback when the parade steps off around 9:45 AM, and will be flanked by her youngest grandchildren, also on thier horses.
LaGrande, the daughter of the late Charlie and Lola Dennis, carries on a long tradition when it comes to rodeo. Her father and brother both served as grand marshal; Charlie in 1949 and Jim in 1993.
Jim was also rodeo chairman in 1953. LaGrande’s sister Babe Dennis (Sites) was Rodeo Queen in 1952, as was her daughter Leah LaGrande many years later.
“I started participating in rodeo when I was about 10, and I’ve been involved every year since,” LaGrande said. “If they ask me to be a line judge, then I always say, yes. I will do whatever they need me to do.”
LaGrande said the Maxwell Rodeo has been held every year for nearly nine decades, and can’t imagine it ever going away.
“It’s good clean fun, and it’s for the kids,” she said.
The 2017 Maxwell High School Royal Court includes Rodeo Queen Maureen LaGrande and Princeses Megan Dunlap, Sarah Fleming and Hannah Azevedo. Wyatt Perry and Theresa LaGrande co-chair the event.
The Maxwell Rodeo is billed as the last free junior rodeo in California, and is an event that draws large crowds, organizers said.
“Between the parade, car show, rodeo and all the other activities, there is something for everyone,” said Kyle Miller, rodeo cooridinator.
Starting off the day will be the 5K Bull Run, which gets underway at the corner of Old Highway 99 and Oak Street, with registration at 7:30 AM; Race at 8 AM.
This year’s rodeo theme is “Keep the Cars Clean and the Bulls Mean in 2017,” which pays homage not only to the rodeo, which includes bull riding this year, but the large car show that draws hundreds of classic cars and extraordinary vehicles annually to Colusa County’s west side.
“The focus is the rodeo,” said Randy Wilson, car show chairman. “(The car show) is just to complement the rodeo.”
Wilson said approximately 225 cars and trucks will be on display during the car show, which begins just after the parade. There is no entry fee for car owners, and entrance is allowed the morning of the event. Awards will be given out around 2 PM.
The Sonny Soto Memorial Bench Press Competition will also be held at the high school on Saturday, with weigh-in around 11:15 AM and the competition at noon.
Looking for something good to eat? The Chuckwagon will open at 11:30 AM serving barbecued tri-tip, hamburgers and hot dogs.
As the day comes to an end, the Maxwell Parks and Recreations District will host an Indian Taco dinner from 6-8 PM at the American Legion Hall in downtown Maxwell, followed by a dance.
Dinner tickets are $10 and available at Kim’s Deli, AgriSource, Maxwell Chevron, Cy Hawkins Insurance, Little League field and at the door. All are welecome.
To attend just the dance, there is a cover charge of $10, and you must be 21 and over to attend.
Miller said the Maxwell Rodeo is an event orgainized entirely by high school students and volunteers from the community.
“The adults play a big part in the event, but it is the students that make it happen,” he said.