Entertainment

Clovis Rodeo prepares for a big weekend

Friday, April 22, 2011

Wind gusts and overcast skies didn't stop thousands of people from packing the rodeo arena Friday night.

"Well it's a little chilly, but this is perfect." said Gale Draper of North Fork.

"We were a little concerned because it was Easter weekend. But I think a lot of people are home. Gas prices are high. It's a great bargain. It's great entertainment and it's a good family gathering for Easter." said Clovis Rodeo Director Chuck Rigsby.

Most of the people come to the Clovis Rodeo to see professional cowboys and cowgirls participate in events like bareback riding. But little do they know that the riders come here to the Central Valley in large part because of this man.

John Growney is a well known stock contractor who's job is to provide the bulls and horses that buck riders onto the ground.

"It's like any competition against two wrestlers, or two football teams or whatever. These horses and bulls know that they're competing against the best. And people think I'm nuts but it really happens that way." said Growney.

It's not a direct competition, but local non-profits are working hard for donations at the rodeo. Friday's cold weather meant a slight decrease in sales for some local boy scout troops. They're selling cold drinks and cotton candy so that they can raise money to go to summer camp.

"This is our only fundraiser. A lot of troops do bake sales and car washes. All we do is the rodeo." said Ray Romanowski of Clovis Boy Scout Troop 60.

The Kiwanis Club of Old Town Clovis had a better time selling their hot food items. The money raised will help provide scholarships to students.

"This is rodeo weather. It doesn't get any better." said Brian Heryford of the Kiwanis Club of Old Town Clovis.

The Rodeo Association says each year 21 non-profit groups get roughly $150,000 in donations from the rodeo.

The rodeo continues Saturday, with the annual parade through Old Town Clovis. It begins at 9:30 AM -- at Barstow and Clovis. It's expected to end around noon at Jefferson and Brookhaven. More than 200 hundred groups have signed up to take part.

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clovis rodeo, clovis, fresno county, entertainment, tommy tran
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