Rodeo coincides with Stutsman (N.D.) County Fair
JAMESTOWN, N.D. - Coinciding with the Stutsman County State Fair this weekend is North Dakota's largest annual full-performance rodeo. Marlin Bertsch, president of Roughrider Rodeo Association, said moderate temperatures should bode well for the ...
JAMESTOWN, N.D. - Coinciding with the Stutsman County State Fair this weekend is North Dakota's largest annual full-performance rodeo.
Marlin Bertsch, president of Roughrider Rodeo Association, said moderate temperatures should bode well for the riders and livestock at the 15th annual James River Rodeo. Performances will start at 7 p.m. Friday and again at 6:30 p.m. Saturday at the rodeo arena north of the Stutsman County Fairgrounds in Jamestown.
"It's going to be a very full show," Bertsch said. "Every event is pretty jam packed."
The riders will be competing for prize money in different categories, including saddle bronc and bull riding, tie-down roping and steer wrestling. There will also be competitions for teams, ladies, juniors and seniors.
"There is a lot of local talent and this is just a good show when you can have the whole family competing," Bertsch said. "There will be kids age 6 on up to grandpas and grandpas who are competing."
James River Rodeo is one of around 14 major Roughrider Rodeo Association events around North Dakota each year, he said. The highest cumulative point earners compete in a finals event at the Jamestown Civic Center in early October.
Time will not allow every registrant to compete in the main performance, and some events are delegated to the slack competition that starts after performances around 9:45 p.m. Friday and again at 1 p.m. Saturday before the performances start at 6:30 p.m.
"We usually have a lot of slack," Bertsch said. "These are all the timed events and not the rough stuff, so you will see a lot of good horsemanship and roping."
Another highlight of this year's rodeo is its oldest bull-riding competitor-59-year-old Dan Pahl of Edgeley.
"Most people stop bull riding in their late 20s," Bertsch said. "Dan is still going strong and I think he will still be riding when he is 80."
Pahl was considered a good rider who had never won an event, Bertsch said. Then in 2009 Pahl befriended 4-year-old Jacob Williams and a winning spree followed to put him on the top of the points list.
"Dan was not having a good year and then he started to ride bulls and winning," Bertsch said. "The night he received the trophy buckle from the Roughrider Rodeo Association he left immediately and went straight to Anne Carlsen Center to give it to Jacob."
Ron Uracher is returning to announce the James River Rodeo. He was an announcer for several years and recently returned to the circuit.
"Ron was with us for several years and we are happy to have him back as an announcer," he said.
Livestock is provided by Hystad Roping Cattle, Wildman Rodeo Co. and Erickson Rodeo Bulls. The concessions are handled by Classic Catering, which is run by James River Senior Center, and the profits go to support the Meals on Wheels program.
Bertsch said the James River Rodeo would not have grown from 350 entries in 2002 to more than 700 today if it wasn't for the strong support from the community and local businesses.
"The Stutsman County Fair Board of Directors and Buffalo City Tourism (now Jamestown Tourism) gave us a chance and believed in us," he said. "But it is not just a committee but the entire community that makes it happen."
The Jamestown Parks and Recreation Department provides bleachers and picnic tables, he said. Gun & Reel Sports provides carts for the rodeo staff. Aggregate Industries provides tons of free gravel.
"Everybody chips in," he said. "You have to look a long way to find a better rodeo than this one."
Searle Swedlund, executive director of Jamestown Tourism, said the annual event has a positive impact on the community and it continues to grow.
"That growth is rooted in some really hard-working, talented volunteers whose dreams to make this rodeo great have come to fruition," Swedlund said.
Admission is $10 for adults, $5 for youth ages 6 to 16, and children ages 5 and under get in for free. For more information, call 252-6398 or email email@example.com .