By Don Nelson

The only cancellation in the 45-year history of the Methow Valley Rodeo occurred a year ago, when the Labor Day event was called off because of poor air quality conditions in the valley resulting from wildland fires.

This year’s Memorial Day Rodeo went off as planned, and now the rodeo grounds are once again ready for Labor Day weekend competition on Saturday and Sunday (Sept. 3 and 4).

“We’re good to go,” said Dennis Gardner, president of the Methow Valley Horsemen, the group that stages the two rodeos each year. “Everybody I’ve talked to is glad we’re back.”

Gardner said he’s hoping for a good turnout during the busy Labor Day weekend, given the steady tourism traffic in the valley’s fire-free summer so far.

The Memorial Day Rodeo was well attended, Gardner said, and “went longer than in the past.”

This weekend’s events include bronc and bull riding, plus barrel racing. Junior rodeo events are staged only at the Memorial Day Rodeo. Red Clark of C & C Rodeo Stock will supply the rodeo stock.

The rodeo grounds are on Brengman Road off Twin Lakes Road between Winthrop and Twisp.

Competition begins at 1 p.m. each day. Admission is $10 for adult, $5 for ages 7-12, and free for kids 6 and younger.

The Methow Valley Rodeo was launched in 1971 by Bill Flagg, Vernon Bame, Don Dagnon, Tom Graves, Al Gardner and Sandy Haase. The first rodeo arena was on the Sunny M Ranch, where it was staged for 10 years. The rodeo later moved to the Brengman Road site at Moccasin Lake Ranch.

For more information, visit www.methowvalleyrodeo.com.