Clovis Rodeo’ Demonstrates “Clovis Way of Life”

Steer Wrestling portion of the 2019 Annual Clovis Rodeo at the Clovis Rodeo Grounds on Sunday, April 28, 2019. (Jose Romo Jr./The Clovis Roundup)

There are more things that the City of Clovis is known for and prideful of than you can count on your hands and feet. From the vintage Old Town Clovis, which is littered with top-rated restaurants and antique stores, to the beautiful Clovis Botanical Gardens, there is quite literally something for everyone to enjoy. 

The Clovis Rodeo is definitely no exception. The event itself is an ingrained piece of history and culture maintained by the City of Clovis, Fresno County, their people, and the Clovis Rodeo Association, and has been going strong for the past 108 years, starting with its foundation in 1914. 

Although the rodeo took hits financially and, especially, morale in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic which forced the event to be canceled, it found new footing in its reboot last year- 2021. The estimated number for revenue generated for the City of Clovis last year was $12 million, but that number is expected to be much greater this year, as the rodeo association is projecting record numbers of attendees. 

Ron Dunbar was the President of the Clovis Rodeo Association from 2010 to 2012, yet took a leave from the position until this last year in 2021. 

“I mean I just enjoy it. [It’s] a bit of a passion. I grew up around the Clovis Rodeo. I never missed one as a kid; I was three months [or] four months [old] when I watched my first rodeo and ten was when I was actually in my first rodeo… it’s a long family tradition,” Dunbar stated when prompted for an explanation on his return to the presidency.

With the rodeo projected to host significantly more attendees than years prior, it is no contest that the rodeo and its hard-working event organizers and volunteers are up to their horse necks in preparation. This is especially true due to this year being the first year of the pandemic that there are significantly looser restrictions for entry to the event.

“Yeah, we’ll expect a lot bigger turn-out this year… last year was a tough year but we did what we had to do to make it work and we’ll be expecting large crowds for all five days.”

Although the association is anxious about how the event will turn out, nothing tops the excitement for the event’s preparation and the feedback from the attendees that hold the rodeo so near and dear to their hearts.

“The fruits of our labor are at the end of the day- we get a lot of great feedback. I’m right in front of the bucking chute so I can hear everything and it’s, uh, pretty amazing when you hear the crowd go off.”

The projected number of cowboys and cowgirls participating in the event and competing for the sum of prize money is the greatest it’s been in recent history, with a staggering 741 competitors. “We got the greatest cowboys and cowgirls from across the country, and around the world, that come to Clovis, California. It’s a big event, so we want to make sure we give our fans only the best.”

Dunbar stated that the number of entries by cowboys and cowgirls submitted was well over 800, closer to the 900 range, but the event could simply not host that many entries. He said, “It’s flattering.”

On top of the magnificent rodeo, the event also, in a way, showcases what Dunbar stated are “only the best in stock.” Animals are brought in from regions such as Canada, Montana, Wyoming, and Washington. “We bring in good, strong animals for our cowboys and cowgirls to compete with.”

If the rodeo is not really your gig, the event also hosts a wonderful selection of ‘Clovis-famous’ entrees to enjoy and plenty of sights to help create memories that’ll last a lifetime. 

The 108th Clovis Rodeo kicks off on April 20th and is here to stay until April 24th. For more information and ticket purchasing, you can visit ‘CLOVISRODEO.COM’.