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Bucking horses and their colts gallop through the St. Paul Rodeo arena. (Photo by Hoot Creek)

From busting broncos to bull riders and even cowboy poetry, there’s something for everyone at local rodeos.

St. Paul Rodeo

The local rodeo circuit is replete with rodeos, including the St. Paul Rodeo, which celebrates 84 years this month.

“Our small community of 300 sees its population balloon to over 50,000 during the five days of the rodeo,” says spokesperson Ruth Nicolaus. “It’s the nation’s greatest Fourth of July rodeo.”

The first rodeo was held on July 4, 1936 after locals cleared the city park — a baseball diamond surrounded by scotch broom and littered with tin cans — and built a pole fence around a short quarter mile track. Four bucking chutes and a roping chute were added, and cowboys came from all over Oregon, 50 of them strong, to compete for a rip-roaring purse of $500.

“There’s a carnival, the famous Tack Room Saloon — voted one of the top 20 cowboy bars in the west,” she says. “New this year is our entertaining specialty act, trick riders. Trick riders are beautifully dressed cowgirls doing gymnastic-like stunts as the horses gallop around the arena. Fans will get to see Jessica Blair Fowlkes trick ride each performance.

“The Wild West Art Show displays artwork for sale, and the Great American Barbecue Cook-off features the wizards of the grill,” she adds. “On the Fourth of July, a parade through the beautiful town of St. Paul takes place, plus fireworks following each night of the rodeo. It’s truly a piece of Americana, all that’s good about America, embodied in the St. Paul Rodeo.”

The rodeo also includes food and merchandise vendors, and a carnival.

Dates: 7:30 p.m. July 2-6, with 1:30 p.m. rodeo July 4.

Tickets: $16 to $26 (plus a convenience fee).

Info: or 800-237-5920.

Bonus: The rodeo is a fundraiser for many service and youth organizations around the area and is produced by nearly 100 percent volunteer labor.

Santiam Canyon Stampede

It may be younger than St. Paul, but the Santiam Canyon Stampede has just as much energy and heart.

“All of us at the Santiam Canyon Stampede are very excited for our 23rd anniversary,” says Corky Justis, SCS director of promotions. “As we look to the future, we find it energizes us to keep in mind all the great memories and hard work it took to build the Stampede.”

During the rodeo, thrill to see bareback riding, barrel racing, bull riding, breakaway roping, saddle bronc riding, and “funny guys with painted faces, spandex shorts and oversized pants classed against a ranked bull” in a fight that will leave your sides aching.

“Professional Rodeo announcer Dan Fowlie will be back announcing all the rodeo action happening in the arena, and our professional animal athletes are brought to us by Howell Rodeo Company,” Justis says. “The Stampede is also happy to welcome back clown and barrel man, Clint ‘Wolfy’ Selvester, who has become a crowd favorite.”

All rodeo action can be seen and re-seen with the Stampede’s instant replay video score board. “You won’t miss a minute of the action,” she says.

Dates: July 19-20 at Sublimity Harvest Festival Grounds.

Tickets: Adults are $13 in advance; $17 at the gate. Youth ages 5-12 are $9 in advance, $13 at the gate. Tickets sold at Double H Western Wear in Salem; Riverview Bank in Aumsville; Wilco Farm Stores in Stayton, Silverton, Oregon City and Lebanon; and on the Stampede website.


Bonus: Kids Corral, free on Friday night, an official Stampede after-party, Mutton Bustin’ for the kids, music, royalty, and the Sublimity Firefighters Cowboy Breakfast. Proceeds from the Stampede are dispersed to various youth groups in the Sublimity-Stayton area.

Other area rodeos

Molalla Buckaroo Rodeo: June 29-July 2, Molalla. Info: 503-829-8388 or

Marion County Fair Hell on Hooves Rough Stock Rodeo: July 13 at the Marion County Fairgrounds, Salem. Info: 541-895-5335 or

Yamhill County Fair & Rodeo: Aug. 1-2, McMinnville. Info: 503-434-7524 or

Columbia County Fair & Rodeo: July 17-21, St. Helens. Info: 503-397-3231 or

Clackamas County Fair & Rodeo: Aug. 13-17, Canby. Info: 503-266-1136 or

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