It might be wise to try to clear up some memory on those cellphones in preparation for this week’s Philomath Frolic & Rodeo.
Maybe you’ll want to shoot a short video of your toddler interacting with an animal at the 4-H meet-and-greet. Adults and kids alike will want to capture an image of their sidewalk masterpieces Friday morning in front of the library. And of course, Saturday morning’s grand parade is always good for creating memories with family and friends.
Oh, and don’t forget those entertaining rodeo performances on Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights. Maybe you can even get Joey “Hackbrown” Hackett or announcer Scott Allen to pose with you.
Yes, the 65th annual Philomath Frolic & Rodeo runs Thursday through Sunday and the community celebration will provide good opportunities for you to add plenty of images and videos to your cellphone’s camera roll.
Although the parade always proves to be popular with spectators, the celebration revolves around the rodeo performances. And this year, organizers are trying to make things a little easier on spectators with reserved seating offered for the first time.
“We’re really trying to listen to the community, the fans and the contestants,” Frolic & Rodeo president Chris Workman said. “The complaints we’ve heard are we have to show up two hours early to get our seats, we’ve got to bring our blankets out, we’ve got to defend our seats and then the rodeo starts and half of the stands are full of blankets and then we can’t get a seat because we’re sitting on someone else’s blanket — it’s that whole thing of trying to reserve your seat.”
So, the Philomath Frolic & Rodeo’s executive board has gone to online seat reservations. General admission tickets will still be available for seating in the north and south bleachers. Fans can go to www.philomathfrolic.org and pick their seats and pay for them online.
Darrell Hinchberger, Frolic & Rodeo vice president of management, believes the online ticket sales have been going well. During a July 3 phone interview, he estimated that nearly half of the reserved seats had been sold.
“You can show up 10 minutes before or 10 minutes after (the rodeo begins) and still have your seats ready for you,” Workman said.
Besides easing past issues with the strictly general admission approach, the online sales are expected to also make things easier on volunteers who just have to scan them as fans head up into the stands.
In fact, Hinchberger said the Frolic & Rodeo is moving closer to the year when sales booths will be eliminated entirely with all tickets to be purchased online.
Organizers are promoting the Thursday night rodeo as a budget-friendly night with tickets prices that are significantly lower — in the vicinity of half price for the youth tickets (depending on the section). The Frolic folks wanted to give the fans with families a break on the wallet if they wanted to take in some rodeo action.
For the second straight year, fans will be able to enjoy a cold one in the stands while watching the action. Workman reported no problems from last year’s first time trying it out.
“We didn’t have any incidents,” he said. “We had one complaint about a guy that got kind of obnoxious and loud and all of his friends said he was that way before he started drinking. So we didn’t feel like it was an alcohol-induced loud and obnoxious.”
The Frolic & Rodeo has a contract with Columbia Distributing to handle beer sales.
“They’re a professional crew — this is what they do all summer long,” Workman said. “They know exactly what they’re doing and we have full confidence in them and felt like they did a great job last year making sure there’s no over-drinking or underage drinking.”
Columbia Distributing hires its own security and extra measures are implemented, such as following people who purchased more than one beer back to their seats to make sure it’s not given to a minor.
At one time, organizers thought it would be best to serve beer in cans to prevent spilling incidents, but the distributor advised that plastic cups would well and it’s a lower-cost option. Workman said there were no incidents reported.
Just outside of the grandstands, fans will have access to the vendors. Workman said there will be eight commercial food vendors, not counting local nonprofit groups that might be selling shaved ice, for example. The are a few more craft vendors than last year with Workman estimating those at a dozen or so.
Organizers put a limit on the number of food vendors.
“We mix it up … it’s mostly first-come, first-serve but there are a few that we specifically invite to come back,” Workman said. “We check references, we call around and see how they were at other events. We’ve had really good luck.”
After the rodeo performances each night, there will be a Frolic dance with live music until 1 a.m. at the Yew Wood Corral and beer garden. This year, an area band, Scruggs & the Steel Benders, will kick things off with the Thursday night gig. Then on Friday and Saturday nights, the Terri McConnachie Band out of Portland will perform. McConnachie has performed at the Frolic in the past with Whisky Union.
The annual fireworks show will follow the Friday night rodeo after it gets dark enough, sometime around 9:30 p.m.
The Philomath Frolic & Rodeo queen for 2019 will be crowned during an intermission at the Saturday night performance. And for the fourth straight year, Philomath will also be hosting the Junior and Miss Teen Rodeo Oregon pageants.
“When our contestants are out in the arena showing their horsemanship skills or equestrian skills, the junior contestants and the teen contestants are out there with them talking and sharing ideas and having just a good time together,” Workman said. “The younger girls really look up to our Frolic & Rodeo contestants and see that as something to build up toward and to emulate and so it just works really, really well.”
Workman said it’s an honor for the Frolic & Rodeo to host the other two statewide queen competitions.
“They could be at Pendleton, they could be at a number of different rodeos around the state, but they like working with the Frolic & Rodeo,” he said. “I think that says a lot — not just for our rodeo but for our queen pageant contest.”
For the 2019 Frolic rodeo queen competition, there are four contestants — Jesse Nordyke, Mallory Stokes, Mandy Vanderpool and Kelsey Wilson.
Rylee Henderer, the 2018 Frolic queen, will be very visible this week.
“She’s such a great ambassador for Philomath,” Workman said. “She grew up here, she just turned 20 years old and she’s been to 20 Frolic rodeos. This will be her 21st — since before she was 1, her parents have been bringing her to the Frolic & Rodeo.”
Workman said Henderer is excited about this week.
“I think her highlight of the year will be having Scott Allen announcing her as the Frolic & Rodeo queen,” Workman said. “He has this great voice, he does this ‘It’s great to be the queen.’ She’s very humble about it but loving every minute.”
The rodeo queen horsemanship competition sessions will run Friday from 9-11 a.m. and 2-4 p.m.
The Frolic & Rodeo will not have a carnival this year but it’s not because of a lack of interest from organizers. It simply came down to scheduling.
“Most Julys have five weekends and this particular July had four weekends. We were the last one into their contract and so we were the first ones out,” Hinchberger explained. “We plan on having a carnival back next year. But it was just the circumstances with the weekends as to why it was canceled.”
There will be other things for the youngsters, however, with Kids Corner returning. Those activities include the 4-H Animal Meet-n-Greet, arts and crafts, pony rides and the popular mutton bustin’.
Among the other activities, the Philomath Community Library’s Chalk Roundup will run Friday with registration at 9 a.m. and drawing from 9:30-11:30 a.m. All ages are invited to that event and participants must use chalk provided. Prizes will be awarded in five categories: 4 and under, ages 5-8, 9-12, 13-18 and adults older than 18.
“That’s just a fun event to bring the kids to,” Workman said. “They pick a square and they get the whole sidewalk square to decorate as they want to. It’s fun to have the kids use their imaginations and come up with whatever they want. And there are more adults participating.”
Start off Saturday morning with the Philomath Lions Club’s annual rodeo breakfast. The grand parade begins at 10 a.m., starting at Philomath High School and traveling west on Applegate Street to the library.
Mary’s Peak Search and Rescue will host its popular chicken barbecue feed from 11 a.m.-1 p.m. at the rodeo grounds. Also Saturday, the professional lumberjack competition will run from 3-6 p.m., and includes free admission.
The Philomath Youth Activities Club’s Fish Rodeo is scheduled to go from 4-6 p.m. Saturday at the rodeo grounds. Workman said the contractor, Blue Den Ranch out of Scio, plans to provide 150 rainbow trout each at 10 to 12 inches.
The fish rodeo is for children ages 12 and under only. For those who catch one, volunteers will clean it and grill it on site. Tickets are $8 apiece.
The Philomath Frolic & Rodeo wouldn’t be around if not for the volunteers. Hinchberger said the operation is going strong.
“We’ve had work parties here recently that have 15, 20 people with paint brushes, rakes and weedeaters ready to go to work,” Hinchberger said last week.
Believe it or not, many people may not realize that they can volunteer for the Frolic & Rodeo with the assumption that everything is taken care of by the members of the organization. Said Hinchberger, “It takes a whole community to put on the event.”