Rodeo brings the Western action


Last updated 6/20/2023 at 11:39am

Photo by Jerry Baldock

Bronc rider Ryder Wright spurred out to an 88-point performance on Saturday night.

Stetson Wright of Milford, Utah, took All-Around Cowboy honors at the Sisters Rodeo last weekend. That meant he went home with an exquisite equine sculpture sponsored by the Sisters branch of U.S. Bank, and carved by Sisters artist J. Chester "Skip" Armstrong.

The exceptional trophy is a reflection of the homegrown quality of the Sisters Rodeo - one of the aspects of the event that draws the top competitors and sold-out crowds.

The event is staged by hundreds of volunteers who do the work for love of Rodeo - and their community.

The ushers had a big job helping people find their seats in the packed bleachers, as some 5,500 people filled the John Leavitt Memorial Arena for each of five performances, starting with Xtreme Bulls last Wednesday night and running through a postcard-perfect weekend.

Bonnie Knox gathered a crew of ushers in the Gold Section on Saturday afternoon, preparing for the sold-out crowd to filter in. She's been an usher (among other volunteer jobs) for 17 years.

"I love the Rodeo," she said. "My knees are getting old and it hurts now - but I love it."

That was a sentiment shared among the other volunteers.

Sara Goodwin has been volunteering since 2015.

"It's the one thing I volunteer for in Sisters," she said. "I love the Rodeo. I love watching the families."

Donna Tewksbury - who once competed in rodeos as a barrel racer - was "harnessed" by one of her riding buddies and took on usher duties four years ago. She chuckled as she remembered a crew of kids running around under the bleachers, retrieving items dropped through the seats and returned to her like a lost and found.

"I had 20 cell phones at the end of the night," she said.

Marna Griffin has history with the Sisters Rodeo.

"My dad was very involved in the Rodeo when he was alive," she recalled.

She recalled that the 1989 program was dedicated to Wilton Smith. She had long hoped to get back to Sisters.

"It took us 70 years to get here, but we finally got here," she said. "And this was the first thing I wanted to volunteer for."

While it's homegrown in its feel, Sisters Rodeo is world class in its staging of the athletic events.

Photo by Jerry Baldock

Tomas Garcilazo - Charro on the Road.

Katie Jo Halbert turned in a blistering 17.9 time (arena record) to win the barrel racing event. She later posted on social media her appreciation for the arena crew that had the ground in good condition, that allowing her horse to perform at her best.

The action in the Arena is only part of the experience of Sisters Rodeo. On Saturday morning, spectators packed the sidewalks along Cascade Avenue to take in the Sisters Rodeo Parade. For many locals, the parade is the highlight of the weekend, and they never miss it.

As the dust settled Sunday, and the trucks and trailers filtered out of the Sisters Rodeo Grounds and hit the highway to the next rodeo on the circuit, contestants, fans, and volunteers all knew full well why they call it The Biggest Little Show in the World.

Author Bio

Jim Cornelius, Editor in Chief

Author photo

Jim Cornelius is editor in chief of The Nugget and author of “Warriors of the Wildlands: True Tales of the Frontier Partisans.” A history buff, he explores frontier history across three centuries and several continents on his podcast, The Frontier Partisans. For more information visit


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