Biggest Little Show to get bigger

 

Last updated 3/9/2022 at Noon

Bill Bartlett

COVID-19 bucked the Sisters Rodeo off the event schedule for two years — but it’s back for 2022, with added improvements.

If you drove by the rodeo grounds Friday you saw new lighting being installed. The low-energy, high-output LED lamps will dramatically improve illumination for the upcoming 80th Sisters Rodeo, June 8-12. The lights will make for a better experience for attendees of evening performances. The greater benefit however will be to allow for high-definition TV coverage.

This year’s rodeo will be live telecast on the Cowboy Channel and RFD TV, a pay television channel that caters to viewers with rural tastes and interests. Any rodeo enthusiast or photographer knows that lighting has been deficient, especially when the horses and cows get into the far corners.

The promoters are equally excited about other improvements. There will be new vendor sections and food trucks according to Curt Kallberg, Sisters Rodeo Association Board President. There will be new viewing areas with large-screen TVs, enabling guests to meet in the food or vending area without missing any of the action.

The specialty act this year will be a first in Sisters, Felix Santana and his Lusitano and Iberian warmblood cross, Gallahan. The duo will be performing a series of movements with roots in classical horsemanship also known as haute école or Alta Escuela training. The movements practiced in this discipline were once used on ancient battlefields to give soldiers and their equine counterparts an advantage at war.

Lateral movements were used to evade threatening encounters and are still used while engaging with bullfighting, as well as in training to increase the gymnastic ability of the horse. In some maneuvers used, such as the Spanish walk and Airs Above the Ground, the horse’s own body is utilized as a weapon against whatever the pair may encounter. These movements require extreme engagement, collection, and strength from the horse.

Stadium lighting will make the rodeo easier to film for TV broadcasts.photo provided

“We can’t tell you how excited we are after the two-year layoff,” Kallberg said. “The rodeo is so important to Sisters. We’re convinced this will be our best rodeo ever, truly the biggest little show in the world (the rodeo’s motto). And this year even bigger,” he added with a twinkle in his eye and smile in his voice.

The Saturday Rodeo Parade is returning on June 11, starting at 9:30 a.m. Members of the Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs will be on hand throughout the rodeo demonstrating horsemanship in the Native American tradition, also a first for the Sisters Rodeo.

“Tickets are selling well,” Kallberg said.

The Rodeo is expecting a sellout for the performances and urging fans to get tickets now by going to tickets.sistersrodeo.com. Parade entrants should go to sistersrodeo.com/parade to register.

 

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