Grubstake Days Rodeo returns to Yucca Valley

Pat Bain competes in the tie-down roping competition during the 2019 Grubstake Days Rodeo.

YUCCA VALLEY — Grubstake Days 2020 has been canceled, Yucca Valley Chamber of Commerce CEO Wanda Stadum said Monday.

The celebration on this Memorial Day weekend would have been the 70th Grubstake Days. However, with the coronavirus taking hold in San Bernardino County and orders from the state and San Bernardino forbidding gatherings of any number of people, it simply was not possible to plan for an event for late May.

“After I talked to every stakeholder, I talked to each of my executive board members, and they all agreed, yes, cancel Grubstake Days, with the approval of our entire board,” Stadum said Monday afternoon.

She was gathering votes via email from the 13 members of the board and already had a majority.

In February, Stadum warned the Yucca Valley Town Council that the Grubstake Days Parade might eventually be canceled because of growing traffic on Twentynine Palms Highway.

She said Monday she had gotten the permit to close the highway from Caltrans, but as always, the state required insurance coverage.

The chamber’s insurance agent had been looking for eight weeks for a company that would insure a parade without luck, according to the CEO.

“No company in the country will cover a parade right now,” Stadum said. “It’s too risky.”

The Grubstake Days Rodeo was canceled as well, and cannot be postponed to a later date because the rodeo organizations that run it already have their schedules planned, Stadum said.

Rodeo sponsors will be notified and may get their money back or forward it to next year.

So far, according to Stadum, organizers had spent $2,500 to $3,000 on the rodeo to buy tickets, flags, wristbands and street signs.

“The only things that kind of got postponed are the golf challenge — we can have that any time that we think the community is ready — and our kick-off mixer with the Elks Lodge,” Stadum said.

The Elks have agreed to sponsor the chamber’s next mixer, but that won’t be for some time, as local businesses are struggling, closed or running with limited hours, staff and services.

“It might not be until Christmas and we could have a giant Christmas party,” Stadum said.

Once the crisis is over and businesses are recovering, she said, the chamber will be ready for the 70th annual Grubstake Days — just one year later.

We have plans to come back stronger than ever, that’s for sure.”

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