Clovis Rodeo Makes New Memories in its 108th Year

Attendees of the 2022 Clovis Rodeo applaud for team roping competition. (Adam Ricardo Solis/Clovis Roundup)

The Clovis Rodeo returned this year to a community that was delighted to share their enthusiasm for bull riding and making memories with friends.

Evolving from the Clovis Festival Day in 1914, the Clovis Rodeo has been an event the Clovis community has used as a way to enjoy time with family and friends. Since being canceled in 2020, for the first time since World War II, and a partial reopening in 2021 with COVID restrictions in place,  the community showed up in full force to watch a variety of riding events throughout the week and support local organizations.

The Clovis Rodeo took place April 20-24, at the Clovis Rodeo grounds where attendees were immediately welcomed at the entrance by booths filled with members of their community sharing information about local organizations or fundraisers and how they could support different groups.

One group that was seen throughout the rodeo helping out in different spots was the Boy Scouts of America troop 354. At their booth, mother Misty Thornton was there with her kids who are a part of troop 354 and said it was their first time attending the rodeo and said the conversations she’s had with members of the community have always been “kind ones” and is thankful for the community’s support at the rodeo.

“They all seem like they really want to help support these kids. The kids are selling so they can go to their summer camp and there are quite a few costs associated with that and a lot of [community members] will deliberately go find our kids to purchase things rather than waiting in lines at the booths so those kids can make it to their summer camp so that’s been really wonderful to see,” Thornton said.

Entertainment was found at every turn at the rodeo, with Jameson Rodgers performing in concert Friday, April 22, and crowd favorite rodeo clown JJ Harrison was front and center for families and fans to enjoy his humor and entertainment throughout the day. Including one instance where Harrison managed to get Clovis Police Dept., Corporal Chris Hutchison to go out and dance for the crowd.

“It’s fun, the public likes it. It’s nice to get out there and show people that we’re human too,” Hutchison said.

Hutchison has been with Clovis Police Dept. for “15 plus years.” This rodeo was his second year serving as the main point of contact for the rodeo with the police department and said it continues to be a “pretty fun” assignment.

Hutchison shared that it’s important that at opportunities like the one he had at the rodeo to show the public that police officers “don’t have this rough persona.”

“Hopefully I put a smile on people’s faces and brought a good name to the police department,” Hutchison said.

For other attendees, the Clovis Rodeo was a chance to make some new memories and enjoy the evening, such as Jon Helmuth who went to the rodeo to spend the evening with friends.

“When is it a bad time to watch somebody ride bulls? You go watch somebody ride bulls and it’ll always be exciting,” Helmuth said.

For Helmuth, the Clovis community that comes to the rodeo does so to “come together.”

“We’re all together and we’re having a great time,” Helmuth said, “and I love that, when everybody comes together.” 

The Clovis Rodeo is an annual event that is held the last weekend of April at the Clovis Rodeo grounds and is run by volunteers. Originally growing from a two-day event, the modern day Clovis Rodeo now runs for five days and donates money to local groups such as local 4-H, Future Farmers of America and Clovis schools.

Adam Ricardo Solis has written for The Collegian as a staff reporter covering a variety of topics and transferred from Fresno City College to Fresno State where he majored in agriculture business. He is excited to incorporate what he has learned about the agriculture industry in the Central Valley into future articles while also covering a variety of other community matters.