Break out the cowboy hats. The rodeo’s in town.
Since 1946, the Canyonlands PRCA Rodeo has been an annual event in Moab.
It’s back next weekend, May 31, June 1 and 2. Doors open nightly at 6.
The event begins with the grand entry each night at 7:30.
For the grand entry this year, organizers have a drill team with cowgirls and cowboys doing different stunts and routines in the arena – on their horses, of course.
Next, a group from Grand Junction will perform. Those 18 riders will don Victorian-style costumes from the 1800s while they do their routine.
Then Smokey Bear will come in and finally the grand marshal.
After that is the main event: the rodeo.
The event is a full-blown Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association event.
It takes more than 100 volunteers all year to plan and organize it, said Kirk Pearson, president of the Canyonlands PRCA Rodeo.
“Each year, we’re trying to reach out to the community to get more and more involved,” Pearson said. “We used to have an old western downtown and shootouts. Everyone would dress up downtown.”
Organizers are trying to get more into the community aspect of it again, Pearson said. This year, some downtown businesses have decorated their storefront windows for the rodeo.
A rodeo parade is planned for 10 a.m. Saturday, June 2. Businesses who want to participate can register online. Everyone is welcome to watch.
The parade leaves Swanny City Park, heads south on 100 West, then east on Center Street to Main Street before heading south to Uranium Avenue. From there, the parade will head east on Uranium Avenue where it will end at Grand County Middle School.
Besides the rodeo, the evening weekend event includes a rodeo clown and a carnival for kids, too.
In its third year, the carnival is also evolving, Pearson said.
This year, kids can take part in a variety of activities:
— “Mutton-bustin.’” For kids between 6 and 10 years old who weigh less than 75 pounds. This involves children riding or racing sheep – and attempting to stay on.
— Stick pony races. Rodeo organizers teamed with some senior citizens to make stick ponies for kids to ride and race.
— Greased pig contest – as it sounds. Winners will get a belt buckle and other prizes.
“Everybody should come,” Pearson said. “It supports our local community. It’s a great performance. The specialty act, the clown, does a great job.”
Plus, the animals on display are topnotch. Many of them go to nationals every year, Pearson said. Some are the best in the world.
“It’s an honor to have athletes of that caliber.”