Days of the Old West Rodeo makes a comeback

The Days of the Old West Rodeo will return after a one-year absence because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it—just bring it back.

That’s what the Sawtooth Rangers Riding Club will be doing when the Days of the Old West Rodeo makes its triumphant return to Hailey’s Rodeo Arena for Fourth of July celebrations.

Despite last year’s cancellation due to COVID-19, the 2021 edition of the classic rodeo is set to wow newcomers with a unique experience and give longstanding rodeo fans something to cheer about when the fun begins on Friday, July 2.

The format will follow previous years since the Sawtooth Rangers rolled everything over from last year’s canceled event to this summer. So, to seasoned rodeo fans, nothing has changed, just as it should be.

“It’s important to carry on the traditions and keep it alive and well, and respect the history,” Sawtooth Rangers Treasurer Julie Flolo said. “We’re excited to have it back this year.”

Since their first official meeting on Sept. 30, 1947, at the Hailey Courthouse, the Sawtooth Rangers Riding Club has been an important part of Blaine County.

The first rodeo—the Wood River Roundup—was held Oct. 3, 1948. The success of the event caused an annual show on July 3 and 4, and the rest is history.

Flolo and the rest of the Sawtooth Rangers are expecting a big turnout this summer, and why not? Fans spent a year without dust, fun and little bit of danger. This iconic event has inspired fans and challenged locals in the ever-popular local favorite Mutton Bustin’ and the Hometown Bull Riding events.

“It’s a great show,” Flolo added. “Our rodeo isn’t a typical rodeo by any means. Most rodeos, like in Shoshone and Gooding, have rodeo people attend, but this is more of a tourist attraction. We have a big variety of fans in the stands.”

The nightly fun begins with pre-rodeo events at 6 p.m., and the main event is at 7:30 p.m.

Advance tickets for general admission are $12 for adults and $7 for children 12 and under. They are available at Atkinsons’ Markets in Ketchum, Hailey and Bellevue and at the Hailey Chamber.

Fans are encouraged to buy in advance since the event tends to sell out.

People can still buy tickets the day of. At the door, prices for general admission go up to $15 and $10 for kids.

The event also doubles as an Idaho Cowboys Association Prime event in connection with Pro-West Rodeo, Northwest Pro Rodeo Association, Intermountain Professional Rodeo Association and California Cowboys Professional Rodeo Association.

Nightly events are Ranch Bronc Riding, Bareback Riding, Saddle Bronc Riding, Team Roping, Tie-Down Roping, Breakaway Roping, Barrel Racing, Steer Wrestling and Bull Riding.

There will be plenty of prize money to go around for professional riders.

  • $1,250 for Team Roping, Tie-Down Roping and Barrel Racing
  • $1,500-$2,000 for Ranch Bronc, Bareback Riding and Saddle Bronc Riding
  • $1,350 for Breakaway Roping and Steer Wrestling
  • $3,000-$4,000 for Bull Riding

This year’s master of ceremonies will be Jeff Lucas with seasoned Funny Man and Rodeo Clown Timothy Holmes gracing the crowd’s presence to banter with Lucas, and to give the people some laughter.

For more information, contact the Sawtooth Rangers Riding Club at sawtoothrangers.org.

Email the writer: sports@mtexpress.com

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