The Fourth of July holiday week means rodeo time in Hailey. For three nights this week, the rodeo arena at Wertheimer Park will fill with cheers for saddle and bareback bronc-riding, roping, steer wrestling, barrel racing and bull riding. The Sawtooth Rangers riding club has organized the annual event since 1947. Originally called the Wood River Roundup, the rodeo was christened as the Days of the Old West Rodeo in 1970.
Local horsemen Wayne Clark, Floyd Wilson and Rupert House had something to do with getting the first Hailey rodeo arena built. Charlie Harris helped salvage bleachers from Sun Valley, and the group gathered donations of time and money from locals to complete it.
“We put on several rodeos,” wrote the late Rupert House in a letter posted on the Sawtooth Rangers website. “Some made money and some did not. Some we borrowed money and guaranteed to pay the next rodeo. … Some awfully good horses and riders participated. At the end of the season there was always a get-together banquet to enjoy, win or lose.”
Today the multi-use arena in Hailey is a showcase venue for concerts, circuses and other events in Hailey.
Rodeo main event action begins nightly at 7:30 p.m. July 2-4, but pre-rodeo action begins with a Freestyle Reining Competition the first two nights, and the rodeo queen coronation at 6:30 p.m. on Friday, July 4.
Pre-rodeo mutton-busting for kids who ride sheep takes place today, July 2, and Thursday, July 3, at 7 p.m., with local hometown bull-riding preceding the main action on Friday, July 4, at 7 p.m.
Family night is July 2, when kids under 10 are given free admission with a paying adult.
Rodeo tickets are sold at all three Atkinsons’ Markets and at the Hailey Chamber of Commerce in the Welcome Center located at 781 S. Main St.
All tickets are general admission and sell out fast. Advance tickets are $11 for adults and $6 for kids. The Fourth of July fireworks can be seen from the bleachers at 9:30 p.m. Friday.