LONG?BEACH — If the annual Long Beach Rodeo didn’t quite satisfy your need for live rodeo action, you’re in luck!  The first annual Northwest Junior Rodeo Association sanctioned rodeo on the Peninsula will be held Aug. 13 and 14 with many cowboys and cowgirls attending from around Washington and Oregon.

The rodeo is hosted by the local Surf N Saddle group made up by a number of Amy McHale’s students at the Red Barn. A few of her students have been traveling to Pacific Northwest junior rodeos for the last few years and organizers decided it was time for them to have the chance to compete on their home turf. 

“It’s really nice to see our youth in this area to even have this opportunity,” says Jamie Henington, an organizer of the group. 

About six local girls have spent their summer traveling to area rodeos including ones in Sumas, Rochester and Puyallup competing for points and a spot at the NJRA Finals in Elma. According to Henington, almost all of the girls have qualified for finals so far which will be held Sept. 15, 16 and 17. The local cowgirls include Reece Pierson, Hailee Henington, Wylie McHale, Emily McMillian, Arrianna Wiegardt and McKenzie Dalton.  

The NJRA sanctioned rodeos include a number of events for contestants of varying age levels such as goat tying, team roping, pole bending, barrel racing, breakaway roping, steer riding and bareback riding. “It’s been a really unique opportunity for them to participate in all of these rodeo events,” says Henington. “They really like the breakaway and of course their barrel racing. The girls really enjoy their goat tying and what they call steer dobbing.” Steer dobbing is an event for cowgirls riding a horse where they use a stick with a tennis ball at the end dipped in mustard to “brand” a marked section of a steer in a certain amount of time. 

The first annual Long Beach Junior Rodeo, held at the Peninsula Saddle Club Arena, will run much like the regular rodeo and will start at 10 a.m. Saturday and Sunday. A cowboy breakfast each day at 7 a.m. will get everyone ready for the action. The event is free for spectators but the group is looking for donations to help fund next year’s Junior Rodeo. 

Satisfy your longing for even more steer wrangling and barrel racing action and come down to the arena to cheer on our local rodeo athletes. “We are just really excited about having it here for them,” Harington says.

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