Annual Memorial Day event was canceled earlier
Among other things, 2020 will be remembered as the first year since the annual Methow Valley Rodeo was launched in 1971 that there were no rodeos staged.
Dennis Gardner, president of the sponsoring Methow Valley Horsemen (MVH) board of directors, said last week that the Labor Day Rodeo scheduled for Sept. 5-6 has been canceled. Earlier, MVH had canceled the Memorial Day Rodeo scheduled for May.
In each case, concerns about how COVID-19-related conditions would affect the events was the main reason for cancelation.
Gardner said the MVH board was concerned that the Labor Day Rodeo, even if it could be staged with conditions, would be a money-losing affair. He said the board wasn’t sure the event would be able to attract competitors or spectators.
The county is currently at Phase II in the state’s recovery plan, and it doesn’t seem likely that it will move into the less-restrictive Phase IV in time for the Labor Day Rodeo, Gardner said.
Other major local events canceled this year include the Methow Valley Chamber Music Festival, the Winthrop Rhythm & Blues Festival, The Merc Playhouse’s summer productions, Winthrop ’49er Days, the Confluence Gallery’s Methow Valley Home Tour, the Methow Arts Festival, the Twisp Fourth of July parade, outdoor recreation and competitions, programs at the public libraries, and the Okanogan County Fair, among others. The status of the Winthrop Vintage Wheels Show, scheduled for September, was uncertain.
In 2015, the Labor Day Rodeo was called off because of poor air quality conditions in the valley resulting from wildland fires. The 2015 decision to cancel the Labor Day Rodeo came shortly after three firefighters died when a sudden wind shift in the newly ignited Twisp River Fire overran the trapped crew. During the days that followed, the towns of Twisp and Winthrop were under evacuation advisories and smoke from wildfires remained at levels considered unhealthy for outdoor activity.
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 information, visit http://www.methowvalleyrodeo.com.