By Morgan Willie
The first ever Roy Rodeo was put on in June of 1960. Here we are, 53 years from that first show, and the rodeo is still going strong. Families flock to Roy, Washington each summer to witness some pretty spectacular events. From calf roping, to barrel racing, there is something exciting for everyone to see.
Now, I’m not an avid rodeo-goer, but I have to say that this event is worth making room for in your schedule. I am so glad that I went out and experienced something a little different than my typical scene. It truly was an excellent day. I laughed along with the crowd as a feisty little bull darted its way around the arena to keep from being corralled. I cringed along with fear as bucking broncos’ hooves barely missed those dare-devil cowboys’ heads. Even though I wasn’t aware of the rules and regulations of the events, they were still super captivating to watch.
The best part about the Roy Rodeo is that it’s a great occasion for those who aren’t familiar with rodeo and for those who are totally into it. I spoke with a guy named Bill Forstrom who said rodeo has been a big part of this life over the years. When I asked Bill about what made the Roy Rodeo different from others he’d been to, he answered that the “small, community environment” is what sets Roy apart. I have to agree that I got small-town community vibes as I scanned over the audience. People were all very friendly with one another and families sat very close to enjoy the show. It was nice to see such bonding between others coming from farther towns and the Roy residents themselves.
The rodeo is also a big contributor to funds at Roy Elementary. Sally Duran, secretary in the Roy Elementary PTA, was very happy to tell me about her work in the concessions stand at the event. “This is my third year and it’s actually pretty good. You meet a lot of people and it helps out our school a lot too,” she said. “I get to work at the booth and any proceeds that we make here we’re allowed to keep for the PTA with the understanding that, you know, we clean up.” And, the kids do just that. “We have school kids come in and they clean up the grounds after the rodeo is over with a bunch of volunteers. We have a bunch of people helping us out,” Sally explained. What’s funny, though, is that Sally has never actually watched a full segment of the rodeo because she works behind the scenes! It’s awesome that she has such a great time helping out and she’s not even there to watch the rodeo. It just goes to show you that this event can be fun whether you’re an audience member or a volunteer.
If you’re still hesitant about packing up the family and heading out to the rodeo, let me tell you a few other things that might sway you in the right direction. First, the food is just plain tasty. There are all sorts of traditional “fair foods,” such as corndogs, ice cream, and cotton candy, but there are also pickles-on-a-stick! Plus, most everything is priced between $2 – 5 and you can trust that your food will be handed to you with a smile because, like I mentioned, the workers are all PTA volunteers. Furthermore, there is a face painting stand for the little ones and a “stick horse” race where your kid could win a prize for galloping the fastest. These make the event particularly family friendly. If that’s not enough, there is a beer and wine garden serving up your favorite adult beverages and a souvenir shop to keep the trip memorable! If you take advantage of everything the rodeo has to offer, there’s absolutely no way you could be bored.
If you’re looking for a chance to nab some family time and get away from your traditional routine, the Roy Rodeo is a perfect opportunity. Or, if you’re looking to compare this rodeo to ones you’ve seen in the past, I think you’ll find something unique about Roy. It’s a fun occasion for all!
For more information visit www.royrodeo.com