Outside money keeps Darrington rodeo alive
Organizers had considered closing it indefinitely due to deferred repairs and maintenance work. The money — a $5,000 contribution from Coastal Community Bank and a $25,000 state grant — will cover enough work to keep the rodeo going at least a little longer, said Nick Bates, president of the Darrington Horse Owner Association.
The group organizes the event and owns the rodeo grounds, which are about three miles west of Darrington and 10 miles east of the Oso mudslide.
The $30,000 should cover repairs for fences and bleachers, and electrical upgrades.
Gov. Jay Inslee approved the grant Wednesday. The money is in addition to a $150,000 state economic recovery grant awarded earlier this month for an advertising campaign to bring tourists to the North Fork Stillaguamish River valley, where the slide occurred.
The rodeo started in 1964 and has been at its current site since 1971. It typically draws between 1,000 and 1,500 spectators, Bates said. “We're doing the best we can to keep people coming up.”
The Darrington Timberbowl Rodeo is a Professional Western Rodeo Association-sanctioned event with contestants from the Pacific Northwest and Canada.
Organizers want to upgrade the facilities enough to be able to rent it out for other events, but that would cost about $250,000, he said.
This year's event is June 21-22. The association is hosting a concert the night of June 21 at the adjacent Darrington Bluegrass Music Park to benefit the community.
“We'll sit down with the mayor and community leaders to find out how best to use the money,” Bates said.
Members of the Darrington Horse Owner Association helped care for several horses whose owners died in the slide or who lost their homes. The last seven horses left the rodeo grounds May 4, he said.
Dan Catchpole: 425-339-3454; firstname.lastname@example.org; Twitter: @dcatchpole.
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