Photo by Don Nelson The Methow Valley Horsemen will honor the late Ellis Fink at this weekend’s rodeo.

Photo by Don Nelson

The Methow Valley Horsemen will honor the late Ellis Fink at this weekend’s rodeo.

RodeoBoxIt’s been a year since the valley hosted a rodeo, and the Methow Valley Horsemen (MVH) are looking forward to getting back in the arena this weekend for the 45th Memorial Day Rodeo.

The MVH usually sponsors two rodeos a year — on Memorial Day and Labor Day weekend — but last year’s Labor Day event was canceled because of extremely poor air quality caused by fires in the valley.

This weekend’s rodeo offers two days of action — on Saturday and Sunday (May 28-29) — at the rodeo grounds on Brengman Road, off of Twin Lakes Road between Twisp and Winthrop. Events begin at 1 p.m. each day.

The cost is $10 for adults, $5 for kids ages 7–12, and free for kids 6 and younger. Food will be available on site.

This year the rodeo will honor long-time MVH member Ellis Fink, who died in late 2015. A special ceremony will be held at 2 p.m. on Sunday.

Winthrop resident Carlee Wright, a 16-year-old sophomore at Liberty Bell High School, is the rodeo queen. See stories about Fink and Wright in the rodeo program in this section.

As well as adult competition in bronc and bull riding, barrel racing and roping, there will also be junior rodeo events and kids events including the popular mutton bustin’ rides.

The local rodeo got its start in 1971 when Claude Miller rounded up six local horsemen — Bill Flagg, Vernon Bame, Don Dagnon, Tom Graves, Al Gardner and Sandy Haase — to help build a new rodeo arena on the Sunny M Ranch, where the rodeo was held for 10 years.

In 1983, the rodeo relocated to its current site, which is owned by Moccasin Lake Ranch. Until 2010, the rodeo was a member of the Professional Western Rodeo Association (PWRA). The rodeo returned to “jackpot” format in 2010, in which winners get all their entry money back plus prize money from ticket sales and donations from area businesses.

Since the mid-1980s, Red Clark of C & C Rodeo Stock has supplied horses and bulls for the rodeo.