GRANDVIEW - Several years ago when the Yakima Valley Junior Fair in Grandview was looking for a way to boost attendance, a new idea was brought forward to coordinate a rodeo that would take place during the annual summertime event. The idea was approved, and now three years later, the Yakima Valley Fair and Rodeo is planning on taking its rodeo up another notch.
This year the Yakima Valley Fair and Rodeo will host a Professional Rodeo Cowboy Assocation (PRCA) sanctioned rodeo event.
According to Sharon Fisher, who helps organize the annual event, when the idea to incorporate a rodeo into the fair was first brought up by Glenn Herriman of the Northern Cross Rodeo Company, it was with the idea that after a few years of holding a successful rodeo that the Grandview event could move up from being a ProWest Rodeo Association event to being sanctioned by the PRCA.
Fisher said Herriman, who has always provided stock for the local rodeo, had been wanting to move up to providing stock for PRCA sanctioned events and had said if the Grandview rodeo was successful he would bring the event up to PRCA with him.
"He was really anxious for us to go up with him," Fisher said.
She explained that after the rodeo saw success for three years in a row, Herriman felt the time was right to apply to the PRCA. Fisher said first Herriman went through the process of getting approved to provide stock to PRCA rodeos. Once that happened he approached the PRCA about putting together a new six-rodeo series, which would include the Grandview event.
Fisher said the next step was for the Yakima Valley Fair and Rodeo event to be approved by the PRCA. She explained that this included filling out some paperwork and showing that the rodeo had been successful in the past.
Fisher said being a PRCA sanctioned event in the Coeur d'Alene Casino Championship Series will mean a larger cost to put the rodeo on, but will also mean there will be more opportunities for corporate sponsorship.
According to Fisher, it will cost approximately $6,000 more to put on a PRCA rodeo than it has to put on a ProWest rodeo. She explained that the added cost comes from needing larger purses for the cowboys and having to pay the rodeo judges more money, as well as needing to have official rodeo bullfighters on staff instead of rodeo clowns.
Fisher said the six rodeos that make up the new circuit are working together with the Coeur d'Alene Casino to gain more corporate sponsors. She said people representing the different events, which take place in Brewster, Tekoa, St. Mary's, Idaho and Libby, Mont., as well as Grandview, have been meeting monthly in Coeur d'Alene to discuss everything from sponsorships to the promotion of the series.
Fisher said she is hoping that moving to the PRCA will also help bolster participation in the rodeo. She explained that in years past the Grandview event has been scheduled between two PRCA rodeos, one in Omak and one in Hermiston. She credits this to the reason the local event has been so successful. She said a lot of PRCA cowboys would take part in the Grandview rodeo between the other two events, regardless of the fact that they couldn't earn PRCA points.
Fisher is hopeful that with the Grandview rodeo now being a PRCA event that more PRCA cowboys will take advantage of the scheduling and add the Yakima Valley Fair and Rodeo to their schedule, especially now that the points they earn there will go toward both the series championship, scheduled to be held at the Coeur d'Alene Casino Sept. 24-26, and to nationals, which take place in December in Las Vegas.
Last year the Grandview Rodeo had more than 300 participants, and Fisher is hoping to see that number grow this year.
She said she has been happy with the success the rodeo has seen over the years.
"I think it has helped the fair survive," Fisher said.