Saddle up: James River Rodeo to put on a show starting Friday

The James River Rodeo will be hosting the 19th annual Rough Rider Rodeo at the Stutsman County Fairgrounds this weekend. Photo courtesy The James River Rodeo Inc.

Broncs and bulls and riders oh my.

They are all coming to the Stutsman County Fairgrounds Friday and Saturday.

The James River Rodeo Inc. is putting on the 19th annual Rough Rider Rodeo. The Rodeo will feature a full lineup of events beginning at 6:30 p.m. on Friday. The performance is slated to conclude at approximately 9 p.m. and slack events will begin 30 minutes after the performance concludes. Slack events will continue on Saturday beginning at 1 p.m. The weekend will conclude with a final performance Saturday evening beginning at 6:30 p.m.

"This has been an annual event for the past 18 years," said Casey Aldinger, James River Rodeo Committee president. "We feel that with everything going on the people of the community are a little down and they need something to lift their spirits and get out and do something. With this being an outdoor event we feel that it can be held safely along with bringing things into the community to help spark our struggling businesses."

Aldinger has received 320 entries for the weekend - saying while it is an average entry number the Rodeo was expecting more entries due to the lack of events in the Jamestown community. While the entry numbers have not surpassed expectations Aldinger said he is grateful that entries have not plummeted either.


"We chose to take the risk and move forward with it," Aldinger said. "It has been a very good quality rodeo that we put on every year. We've had people from Canada come up, we've had professional bull riders, professional bronc riders compete over the years."

It's not just the pros who will be competing in the ring this weekend.

"Rough Rider is the circuit that James River Rodeo is a part of (and) it is the only circuit that allows full families to compete," Aldinger said. "My son is seven years old and he will be competing in it and there are people who are 70 years old competing in it. That is the joys of Rough Rider is that it's a family competition and a family event."

Those families not competing are still welcome.

Admission is $10 per adult, $5 per child ages 6 to 16 and children five years old or younger are free. Tickets are available at the gate. Those distributing tickets will be using the Stutsman County Fair ticket taking camper in order to create a safe social distance for those concerned about coronavirus transmission.

Aldinger said in light of the present health crisis additional precautions to avoid unnecessary contact will be taken. Concession stand workers will be masked and gloved and the rodeo has added more seating to try and disperse the crowds. A disinfecting of the seating area will take place after Friday night's and prior to Saturday's events.

"This event is just one step in a community-wide effort to start the economy and also put little joy back into our community in this troubling year that we have had," Aldinger said. "Just come out and support your community."

Gerber is a sports writer for the Jamestown Sun.
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