Chelan Jr. Rodeo kicks off Aug. 3

A contestant in the 16-18 year old category participates in the barrel racing event at the 2018 Chelan Jr. Rodeo. (Provided photo/Cindy Wall)

 

By Cindy Wall
Contributing Writer

If you’ve ever watched a professional rodeo and wondered where those competitors got their start, you’d probably find out it was at a junior rodeo. Watching a junior rodeo gives you a glimpse of this industry’s history while cheering on the next generation of rodeo athletes as they make their mark on the future of this great American institution.

Junior rodeo is a unique forum for young cowboys and cowgirls to learn about competing, leadership, perseverance, courage, sportsmanship and rodeo skills.

“It’s more than just a competition,” said Kelly Gilpin, chairperson of the Chelan Jr. Rodeo Committee. “Competing in junior rodeo builds confidence and gives our youth a place to learn and gain lifelong skills they can use beyond the rodeo arena.”

Young rodeo competitors from around Central and Eastern Washington will make the trip to Chelan to take part in this year’s Jr. Rodeo on Aug. 3 and 4.

Young children, older teens and in between will compete in 52 events from mutton busting to pole bending to calf roping, barreling and much more. Many of these competitors are from multi-generational rodeo families who grew up in this western honored tradition.

“The Chelan Jr. Rodeo has been a long-standing event at the Saddle Club,” said Bernice Bernatz, board member for the Rustlers Saddle Club and a member of the Jr. Rodeo Committee. “It may have missed a few years along the way. But our mission to support youth-related equine events at our club and in our community has remained strong. We’ve demonstrated this by hosting and sponsoring the Jr. Rodeo every year since 2009.”

The Chelan Jr. Rodeo is proud to be sanctioned by both the Eastern Washington Junior Rodeo Association and the Caribou Trails Junior Rodeo Association which awards prizes to the top “point earners” in each age group to help them qualify for regional and state championships.

“We are very excited about this year’s rodeo,” said Gilpin. “With several new competitors, partners and sponsors we know it will be an entertaining event.”

For more information, visit chelansaddleclub.org/jr-rodeo.

Cindy Wall is publicity coordinator for the Chelan Rustlers Saddle Club and is a board member at Trusting Spirit Horse Rescue in Orondo.