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“Everything is buzzing right now.” Oakdale gears up for annual rodeo event

The big weekend has arrived for Les Porter.

“It’s a great family deal,” he said. “Kids loving running around here and it’s a good wholesome family atmosphere with lots of nonstop action.”

Porter, of course, is talking about the Oakdale Rodeo, which starts Friday.

Porter is the director of the Oakdale Saddle Club and has been on the board the last 20 years. He estimates he’s attended the big event the last 50 years.

“Everything is buzzing right now,” he said. “It’s just exciting (to have professionals) and every day, more and more arrive.”

There have been preparations throughout the week, including a competition at Oakdale High School, where students designed the poster for the event with the winner receiving $300; a decoration competition for local businesses; and the Oakdale Rodeo Queen Coronation, which is scheduled for Thursday.

Porter’s aunt, Wanda Weeks, was the first rodeo queen and he had another aunt, Marlene, who was crowned as well.

Cowboys who will compete in the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association events on Saturday and Sunday were expected to start arriving in town on Wednesday, Porter said.

Oakdale’s Ryle Smith is ranked 21st in tiedown in the PRCA World Standings, having earned $22,300. He finished sixth last year, hauling in $186,902 in that event and fifth in the overall standings ($202,408).

Visalia native Kyle Lockett, who leads the team roping (heelers) standings, is expected to compete.

During the three-day event at the Oakdale Rodeo Grounds, Porter expects crowds to top more than 5,000 each day.

Oakdale long has been known as the “Cowboy Capital of the World” but in recent years, there has been a so-called “rivalry” between the town and Stephenville, Texas, which now calls itself the capital and hosts an annual Cowboy Capital of the World PRCA Rodeo each year in September.

For this weekend, all eyes in rodeo will be on Oakdale.

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Schedule of Events at Oakdale Rodeo

Friday

Timed event slack, barrel racing slack (at rodeo grounds), 8 a.m.

Saturday

Timed Event Slack (at rodeo grounds), 8 a.m.

Oakdale Rodeo Parade, 9 a.m. (East F Street, Starts at Oakdale High School and ends at Save Mart)

PRCA First Rodeo Performance (at rodeo grounds), 1 p.m.

Oakdale Rodeo Dance, 7 p.m. (Oakdale Saddle Club Rodeo Grounds-Clubhouse, 21-and-over event only)

Sunday

Cowboy Church, 10 a.m. (rodeo grounds clubhouse)

PRCA Second Rodeo Performance (at rodeo grounds), 1 p.m.

Cost: Slack events, $2. PRCA events $20 (Day of the Event), $15 (Pre-sale)

More info: www.oakdalerodeo.com

Julian A. Lopez has been covering local sports for The Modesto Bee since August 2018. He graduated from Arizona State in 2016 with a BA in Journalism.
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