NEEDLES — Besides two nights of full-bore action in the arena, there will be plenty of events to fill up the daytime hours on Saturday during this year’s Colorado River Round Up Rodeo.
Gates open for the 42nd running of the rodeo, presented this year by Colorado River Medical Center, at 4 p.m. Friday, April 6; and at 9 a.m. Saturday, April 7. Rodeo performances begin at 6 p.m. Friday and 5 p.m. Saturday at the Needles Rodeo Grounds, 1001 San Clemente at Clary Drive. Come hungry: Lyndsey and Joe Payson are firing up Joe’s Smoke Shack again this year featuring BBQ beef, beans, coleslaw, french fries, onion rings, rolls, baked potatoes and fountain drinks.
On Saturday, Lil Wrangler Rodeo registration continues until 10:30 a.m. or until all spots: 20 mutton busters up to nine years and 55 pounds and 30 calf riders up to 11 years and 85 pounds; are filled. Registration is also being accepted Wednesday and Thursday at the Rodeo Store, 800 W. Broadway. Riding begins at 11 a.m.; helmets and vests are provided. Call Judy Thornton at 760-333-5255.
Registration for any available spots for junior barrel racers in two age categories for 11 and under and 12 through 17 will also be taken early Saturday at the rodeo grounds. Competition begins at 2 p.m. Call Mike Shott at 760-218-4891.
A horseshoe tournament is now part of the annual rodeo: call Wade Evans at 760-220-1039 to sign up. Registration continues at 9 a.m., pitching begins at 10 a.m.
Local competitors are also a feature of the rodeo sanctioned by the Grand Canyon Professional Rodeo Association. The Round Up is a full rodeo featuring barrel racing, bareback, ranch and saddle bronc, bull riding, steer wrestling, and calf, breakaway and team roping.
Local performances complementing the rodeo include the Needles Recreation Department’s Dance Trax 51, appearing during Friday’s performance; and the traditional calf scramble on Saturday.
Rodeo royalty for the next year will be crowned Saturday as well; local and visiting royalty will be available for autographs during the rodeo dance following each night’s competition.
Sponsored by the Fort Mojave Indian Tribe, the dance features the return of Kingman’s Briana Payne Band. Dance admission is included in the price of rodeo tickets. Advance tickets, T-shirts and more are available at the Rodeo Store, open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. through April 5.