The Toppenish Rodeo has always been regarded as one of the premier small rodeos in the Northwest. Now, the event has a piece of hardware to verify its elite status on the Columbia River Circuit (CRC).  

Following a successful two-day performance in early July, the Toppenish Rodeo was recognized last month by the CRC committee as the Best Small Rodeo in the region.

“We’ve made a lot of improvements to the grounds over the past couple years, and we consistently draw huge crowds for both nights,” board president Randy Cobb said. “It’s a true community event, and we are honored that the committee chose to recognize that.”

Board treasurer Barb Moses said the award is a testament to all of the hard work the 13-member board and dozens of community volunteers put in every year to stage a first-class event for riders, ropers and fans alike.

“We keep improving every year, and this award just shows how much our community is committed to the sport or rodeo,” Moses said. “When cowboys and cowgirls who haven’t been to Toppenish see that we are the best small rodeo around, hopefully they will decide that this is a trip worth making.”

With the 86th installment of the Toppenish Rodeo barely in the rearview, Cobb, Moses and their fellow board members are already beginning to plan for the next one, scheduled for July 1-2, 2022.

But, as everyone knows, putting on a rodeo requires money. That’s where the annual dinner and auction comes in. After hosting a virtual fundraiser last year, the board is gearing up for an in-person event Saturday, Nov. 20, at the Toppenish Eagles Club.

“If you look at the big picture, we only have three nights out of 365 where we can make money, and the dinner and auction is one of those,” Cobb said. “We’ve got a Friday night, a Saturday night, and the auction, and they’re all a huge part of our fundraising efforts.”

Cobb recognized the local business community for their consistent support year after year, and he also tipped his cap to the rodeo fans from across the Yakima Valley who circle the first weekend of July on their calendars every year. 

“Our sponsors always step up to the plate for the auction, but so does the rest of the community,” he said. “We truly appreciate everyone’s support, and we expect this year to be as good as ever. We know people are looking forward to getting out and having a good time, and we’ve got a lot of great stuff to auction off this year.”

Among the live auction items will be a barbecue grill, a $500 gift certificate to Ray’s Meats, and four VIP tickets to next year’s rodeo. A number of silent auction items will also be up for bid when the social hour begins at 6 p.m. Dinner will be served at 7, followed by the auction, hosted by Chamber of Commerce director Paul Newman.

The other main attraction will be the steak dinner with all the fixins, sponsored by AB Foods. What’s more, the Toppenish Lions Club has signed up to cook the steaks.

“We really appreciate AB Foods and the Lions Club for helping us out,” Moses said. “We’re also very lucky to have Paul as the auctioneer. He does so much for the rodeo every year, and we are very grateful for his support.”

Tickets for the Nov. 20 event are $50 for individuals and $400 for a table of eight. Anyone interested in attending is asked to email the board at Voice messages can be left at 509-494-2509.

“We’d like to see as much community participation as possible,” Cobb said. “We usually sell out, and we hope to keep that tradition going this year.”


Photo courtesy of NBC Right Now.