Cowboys will be bustin’ broncs and bulls

6:40 pm June 1st, 2012

Roy Pioneer Rodeo puts the professionals’ skills on show


Big bulls will try to shed riders during the Roy Pioneer Rodeo. Diane Karl/Courtesy photo

The Roy Pioneer Rodeo, the annual event that puts one of Pierce County’s smallest cities on the map and gives local fans a dose of professional cowboy skills, returns this weekend.

Competition in bareback riding, calf roping, saddle bronc riding, steer wrestling, barrel racing, bull riding breakaway roping and team roping is planned for the Northwest Professional Rodeo Association (NPRA) event.

The gates will open Saturday and Sunday at noon, with the action starting at 1:30. The price of admission is $10 for ages 13 to adults, $6 for seniors, and $4 for children 6 to 12 years old. Kids 5 and under will get in free.

In addition to the rodeo show, food and a beer and wine garden will be featured.

Speaking of food, South Pierce Fire and Rescue will host its annual Cowboy Breakfast both days at its fire station in Roy as a fund-raiser for volunteer firefighters. From 7 to 11 both mornings, $6 for adults, $3 for seniors and $3 for military members will buy biscuits and gravy, pancakes, ham and eggs with hashbrowns, and coffee, orange juice and milk.

The NPRA is the western United States’ largest regional rodeo organization. It sanctions 40 rodeos in Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Nevada and California each year. The NPRA season begins in October with a few indoor events through the winter, has multiple rodeos per weekend in the summer months, and concludes in September with the championship finals. Contestants can stay close to home, families and their day jobs while getting opportunities to compete for cash and points at the professional level, said a spokesman for the association.

The spokesman said NPRA, while preserving part of the western U.S. heritage through its rodeo events, prides itself on the quality of livestock and the sportsmanship and skill level of the competitors.

Bo Segerman of Touchet, a tiny town in southeastern Washington, is the all-around points leader this season. He also is the frontrunner in saddle bronc riding and team roping header.

Other event leaders – most of them from Oregon – on the circuit this year include Wyatt Bloom in bareback riding, Stevie Rae Williams in barrel racing, Jade Crossley in breakaway roping, Myron Duarte in bull riding, Chase Hansen in team roping heeler, Buck Sprague in steer wrestling, and Dakota Eldridge in tie-down roping.

Roy is hailed by some as Washington’s premier cowboy town because of its long-running rodeo. The city, with a population of less than 1,000, teems with out-of-towners – some of them from other states and Canada – during the rodeo and closely identifies with it. An image of a cowboy on a bucking bronco is part of the city’s web site pages.

Roy became a city in 1908. It once was a major stop on the railroad line. But its growth slowed after a fire in 1929 wiped out most of the downtown businesses just before the Depression started. The railroad eventually discontinued Roy as a main stop, and the Army annexed most of the surrounding land to the north and west, limiting expansion and the local tax base.

The rodeo is held twice a year. Its fall version is scheduled for Sept. 1-2.

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