Clayton Rodeo is happening this year at the Clayton Fairgrounds – July 23 & 24
An exciting family event you don’t want to miss!
By Dawn Gronlund
Rodeo is the original power sports — Powerful animals and determined people coming head-to-head in contests of strength, determination, and extreme skill. For those who have never been to the Clayton Pro West Rodeo, you really need to see this apex of outdoor sports with large animals. The saddle horses are well trained. The rodeo stock is not so well trained but love to get wild. The animals are never harmed. It is family entertainment at its finest!
The Clayton Community Fairgrounds begin this year’s wide range of outdoor events with the Pro West Rodeo on July 23-24. It is part of the Pro West circuit, an organization active in Washington, Oregon, Idaho, and Canada. Contestants who are members can accumulate points and attend the finals in the fall, which earns them extra prize money and awards. It also attracts very good bucking stock and riders. The Clayton Rodeo is held the same weekend as Deer Park Settlers Day. You can go to the parade on Saturday morning, go the park in the afternoon, then go to the rodeo for the Saturday night performance.
Other attractions during the rodeo include food vendors and a beer garden. The rodeo starts at 7:30 p.m. Get there early to enjoy the fun. In addition to all the regular exciting rodeo events, highlights include local drill team performances and “businessperson’s calf time,” where local business owners compete in teams of two to run down and catch a calf, throw it, and tie it. It’s good for a laugh!
If you want to be a competitor at the rodeo, you can participate one time without obligation, but then you must purchase a Pro West membership card to continue competing. Contact Pro West to sign up prior to mid-July.
Dwayne and Jan Strong have been volunteering and serving on the board of the Clayton Community Fair Association, a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization, for over 25 years. When asked why they do it, the answer was they just enjoy it. They get to meet great people and it certainly keeps them busy organizing local volunteers, contractors, announcers and food vendors. They have a great time and wouldn’t trade it for anything.
The Strongs’ goals for the rodeo are to provide families with good clean entertainment, and strive to keep admission fees low for families ($10 for adult, $5 for ages 6-12 and under age 6 is free). This is truly a low-cost great time opportunity. It provides the cowboys a chance to compete and win prizes.
The profit from the rodeo provides the funding that allows the Clayton Community Fair to be held each year. Proceeds from funds raised also pay prize money for fair entry winners as well as youth prizes. Additionally, improvements at the grounds are always on-going with something being added each year. In 2019, new lights were added to the arena. So, come and experience the new lights this year, as no one got to enjoy them last year due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
This year, the Clayton Community Fair will be held August 27-29. The first fair in Clayton was in 2006. The Fair Association actually goes back to the 1930s when it was held at the old fairgrounds in Deer Park. Today the fair board consists of 12 members. The volunteers specialize in different departments, from horticulture to livestock, to farm equipment and vendor management. Everybody has their area of interest, but all help out with whatever needs to be done.
If you would like more information or to provide sponsorship (donations to the fair and the rodeo are tax-deductible) see the Clayton Pro West Rodeo Facebook page or call 509-276-5136. There are many sponsorship opportunities available. The organization is all volunteer and is always looking for people who will donate even as little as an hour of time. If you would like to help out a great community organization, they would love to have your help. There are administrative tasks between events as well as during the rodeo, plus the entire week of the fair, so volunteer times are extremely flexible.
There are numerous events held at the Clayton fairgrounds each year. In June, there’s medieval jousting and sword fighting on horseback, plus archery and sword fights. Weddings are held at the fairgrounds as well as family reunions and graduation parties. The grounds or a portion of them are available for rent. See the website for fees.