With cinches pulled tight, hands clasping ropes firmly and a lot of bucking broncos, the Grays Harbor Mounted Posse Indoor Pro Rodeo is back for its 21st year. The gates open Friday and Saturday at 5 p.m. with the rodeo starting at 7 p.m. On Sunday, you can enter as early as 11 a.m. for the 2 p.m. rodeo.
Sam Martin, a Mounted Posse member and one of the gate-openers for the rodeo staff, said they are bringing back all of the old favorites.
“There’s the rough stock with saddle broncs, bareback and bull riding, timed events, roping, barrel racing and a lot of little events for the kids,” he said.
On Saturday, family band “The Olson Brothers” are playing a free concert at a dance being held after the rodeo.
Sunday is all about family. Be “tough enough to wear pink” in support of breast cancer awareness and bring the kids for many different activities. Games (such as bean bag toss) and a magic show are planned for children. A stick-horse race is also on this day. Kids under 10 will receive a free wooden horse to compete in the arena that day. Last year, bicycles were given to winners and all of the children were able to keep the stick horses.
“Elma Feed and several other Elma business have taken on the job of coordinating gathering stick horses and doing the sponsorship,” Martin said. “Before them, we’ve had guys spend a better part of a year just finding stick horses. They probably cost more than the kids admission, but it’s a good deal for the kids and makes our Sunday feel a lot better.”
The 2014 Grays Harbor Mounted Posse Indoor Pro Rodeo Court is Princess Maddie Spencer, Queen Hannah Strickland, Princess Makenzie Carson and Princess Raelene Darnell. The chosen court has gone through numerous tests, including an interview, a written test and horsemanship involving memorizing patterns. Strickland, 20, has been part of the court for four years and said she is excited to have reached her goal of being queen this year.
The main job of the entire court is to represent the Posse and encourage the crowd. The queen also leads the grand entry on Friday night and brings in the flag for the National Anthem.
“I’ve always wanted to be the girl on the horse in the pretty crown leading the parade that everyone is happy to see,” she said. “It’s great.”
Although locals make up the court, the rest of the participants come from all over. As a Northwest Professional Rodeo Association show, professionals sign up to be part of the event. Competitors are coming from all over the Northwest, including Washington, Oregon, Idaho, northern California and often, several from Canada.
The livestock all come from a contractor in Oregon, who also manages the competitors.
“Since they do the call-ins and sign ups, we don’t have to do that,” Martin said. “All we know is that we like to have a full house and full show.”
Tickets for Friday or Sunday family packages are available for $25, single adult tickets are $10, kids ages six to 12 are $7, and those five and under are free.
Alexandra Kocik: 360-537-3928 or firstname.lastname@example.org and @DW_AKocik on Twitter