GAINES — The Village of Gaines will be back in the saddle when the Flying Star Rodeo returns to the Gaines Lions Pine Hill Community Park on July 16 and 17.
Following the cancelation of the 2020 event due to COVID-19, and a disappointing 2019 season when torrential rains put a damper on rodeo weekend, the planning committee is eagerly anticipating the 18th annual Gaines Community Rodeo.
Committee Chairman Brian Wendt said there will be plenty of fun for the whole family.
“I’m looking forward to putting it on this year,” said Wendt. “After missing 2020, and having a rain-out in 2019, it feels right to be back with the community. And, it’s needed.”
Reed City-based Flying Star Rodeo will provide all the high-energy action, with bull riding, barrel racing, bareback riding, team roping, calf roping, steer wrestling and saddle bronc riding.
About 10 vendors already have signed up to have booths in the vendor tent, and more are expected. There also will be concessions, and rodeo-goers are allowed to bring snacks and beverages; however, alcohol and coolers are prohibited. (FYI: pets also are prohibited.)
The petting zoo and pony rides will be back, and there will be free face painting. The rodeo clowns also will be on site. All children in attendance will be invited to participate in the boot/shoe scramble in the ring.
“We’re not doing an entertainment tent this year,” Wendt said. “Due to the cancelation last year and poor weather in 2019 – and we still had a whole year of bills to pay – we had to dial it back.”
Gates open at 5 p.m. and the rodeo begins at 6:30 p.m. There is limited bleacher seating, so spectators are encouraged to bring lawn chairs or blankets for lawn seating.
Tickets cost $12 for people 13 years old and older, and $5 for children age 5 to 12; children younger than 5 years old are admitted free. Tickets are available in advance at Aces Superette (formerly Gaines Superette) or online at squareup.com/store/GainesRodeo.
The event is presented by the Gaines Knights of Columbus Council 12186, and sponsored by local businesses.
“I was worried about getting enough local support from the businesses,” said Wendt. “But this year has been one of the best sponsorship years. Three things make this happen: volunteers, spectators and businesses who support it. Without each part, we couldn’t make this happen year after year. I really appreciate all three.”
The rodeo is the primary fundraiser for the Knights of Columbus, which donates much of the proceeds back to the community through churches, the food pantry and responding to calls to help residents in need.
The rodeo is sanctioned by the Mid-States Rodeo Association and International Professional Rodeo Association.
For more information, visit the Gaines Rodeo Facebook page at www.facebook.com/gainescommunityrodeo/.