The end of summer is a busy season in Churchill County. While everyone is looking forward to loads of fun to be had at the Cantaloupe Festival and Country Fair, let’s not forget the Labor Day Parade and Junior Rodeo. The 51st Annual Lions Club Junior Rodeo kicks off next weekend, Friday, September 3, and runs through Sunday with the annual Lion’s Club Labor Day parade scheduled for Labor Day, September 6.
According to the Lions Club, the first Fallon Lions Club Stampede and 49er's day was held in the late 1940s and has continued ever since. The first events included festival-type events, semi-pro rodeo, auto racing, country-western music, a parade, and other events. Several organizations were involved including the Kiwanis, Eagles, VFW, National Guard, Boy Scouts, and others.
When Churchill County built the present fairgrounds, the Lions Club and the local Rodeo Associations aided with the design and construction, as well as partially funded the project. The Dry Gulch Saloon is a direct holdover from the original Dry Gulch that was located at the old fairgrounds.
As the ability to support a semi-pro rodeo on Labor Day weekend changed over time and the Junior Rodeo Association partnered with the Lions Club to form the Fallon Lions Club Junior Rodeo, and they have continued to host the event every year. This year would have been the 52nd annual event, but due to COVID-19 restrictions in place last year, the annual event was interrupted for the first time since its inception in 1969.
The Junior Rodeo Queen Contest kicks off the event on Friday. Contestants ages 6-13 will complete in areas like horsemanship and public speaking. Beginning Saturday, the rest of the rodeo fun begins. Youth cowboys and cowgirls will compete in several events, including mutton busting, goat undecorating, barrel racing, pole bending, run-ride-and-lead, steer daubing, calf riding, team roping, and more.
The Lion’s Club Junior Rodeo will also be awarding the annual Kendra Beebe Buckle. In honor of Kendra Beebe who was killed while at the event in 2009. It is a "hard luck" award that is given to a contestant who has worked hard in their event but ran into some kind of hard luck during the show.
In addition to the rodeo event, the annual Tommy Lee Roping will also take place at the Fairgrounds, at 6:00 pm on Saturday, September 7.
Several local merchants and individuals are helping make the event possible through sponsorship, donations, and providing raffle prizes. This year, among other items, the raffle includes a western-style leather purse from My Gypsy Soul, hand made by Jerri Fry, a salon gift basket donated by Shine the Salon, and a metal horse sculpture fabricated and donated by Twisted Steel in Fernley, and 10 bales of barn stored hay donated by Chris and Samantha Gomes.
For more information on the event, check out www.facebook.com/Fallon-Lions-Club-Junior-Rodeo.