NEEDLES — Wild-west excitement returns to the Needles Rodeo Grounds this week as Colorado River Medical Center presents the 43rd Colorado River Round Up.

All the competitive events are represented: bareback, ranch, saddle bronc and bull riding; barrel racing, steer wrestling, calf tying, breakaway and team roping in two nights of action Friday and Saturday, April 5 and 6.

Two-for-one tickets for the event are on sale at The Rodeo Store through April 4. Entry to both night’s rodeos goes for the same price as one night at the gate: $10 for those 18 years and up; $5 for ages six to 17. Those five years and under get in free. Visit the store at 800 W. Broadway, Suite A, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. to sign up for Needles Marina Resort’s Li’l Wrangler Rodeo for mutton busters at least nine years old and calf riders at least 11. Pick up a hat or a T shirt or enter a drawing for a rodeo-theme quilt while you’re there.

Friday, April 5

Gates and vendors open at 4 p.m. at the rodeo grounds, 1001 San Clemente at Clary Drive. Enjoy mouth-watering smoked treats cooked up by Joe Payson and Matt Harris at Joe’s Barbecue Shack and visit the other vendors for a snack or a beverage, to have a look at western art, rodeo memorabilia and more at booths set up on the grounds. The adventurous might want to try rock climbing and bungee jumping. Competition begins at 6 p.m. California State Senate Republican Leader Shannon Grove will carry the California flag during the Grand Entry on Friday night.

Dance Trax 51 presents one of their memorable shows during intermission; competition concludes around 8:30 p.m. and the collection of rodeo queens on hand will sign autographs while popular country and rock band LittleTown strikes up for the Fort Mojave Indian Tribe’s rodeo dance included in the price of a ticket.

Saturday, April 6

Gates and vendors open at 9 a.m. as slack riding begins. Sign up for Debbie’s Dispensaries’ horseshoe and cornhole tournaments before competition starts at 10 a.m. Any spots left for Li’l Wranglers can be filled as well; their competition begins at 11 a.m.

Junior barrel racing in two categories for ages 11 and under and ages 12 - 17 begins at 2 p.m.

The Colorado River Round Up Princess is to be crowned during Saturday’s rodeo performance, which begins at 5 p.m. A free calf scramble for ages seven to 10 will be held during the intermission and once again the rodeo queens will sign autographs and LittleTown plays for the rodeo dance.

The Needles Rodeo Association donates proceeds from the event back to the Tri-state community. Visit www.needlesrodeo.com, call Judy Thornton at 760-333-5255, or send email to needlesrodeo@outlook.com with any questions.

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