Stonyford turns Western for 69th annual rodeo
The usually quaint town of Stonyford turned into a Western countryside on Saturday as thousands turned out for opening day of the 69th annual rodeo.
The annual parade kicked off the event as a long line of decorated floats, riding groups, antique cars and political candidates made the trek from Indian Valley Elementary School to the Stony Creek Horsemen's Association rodeo grounds.
"This is the best day ever," said Isaac Tippin, 7, of Elk Creek.
Tippin had planned to watch the parade with his grandmother, Norma Arnold, but managed to snag a seat on the Glenn-Colusa Cattlewomen's barrel horse train.
The annual Stonyford Rodeo officially kicked off the season for summertime fun in the western Colusa County foothills — best known for camping, fishing, boating and other recreational activities at nearby East Park Reservoir, Stony Gorge and the Mendocino National Forest.
About 5,000 people attended the event, organizers said.
"I wouldn't miss it," said Suzanna Torkinson of Antioch. "My family has been coming up here for more than 40 years. I grew up on rodeo."
This year's parade featured more than 40 entries, including the popular Corkill Wild Bunch, which has been marching in the parade about 30 years.
Stony Creek Horsemen Association members Glenn "Spike" and Gail Richardson served as the grand marshals.
Rodeo Queen Emily Rath of Chico reigned over the two-day event, which featured both professional and amateur events and barrel racing, and a long list of community activities.
Prior to the parade, dozens enjoyed the pancake breakfast served by Indian Valley firefighters, and later enjoyed dancing at the community hall or Timberline.
"Stonyford is important to us," said Jacklyn Stokes, of Orland, who watched the parade with husband Thomas Stokes and sons Wyatt Stokes, 4 and Brody Stokes, 11-months. "This is where my husband and I met, and this is where he proposed."
The Stonyford Rodeo is also where Wyatt Stokes made his mutton bustin' debut.
"I'm a cowboy," he said cheerfully, pointing to his hat.
Parade regulars included the Colusa County Search and Rescue, Glenn County Sheriff's Posse and Jr. Posse, Mike Camper, Jack Bucke and Ben Kraemer in their antique cars, and Stonyford and Elk Creek 4-H groups.
Taylor Monk, 16, and Kendall Rose,14, both of Stonyford, carried the Flag of Honors and Flag of Heroes to remember those killed in the terrorist attack on Sept. 11, 2001.
"The last 27 years our parade has been a great success and lots of fun for the kids, as well as the adults," said longtime parade announcer Denny Bungarz. "Many people work hard to see that everyone has a lot of fun."
CONTACT Susan Meeker at 9374-6800 or email@example.com.