YUCCA VALLEY — The Grubstake Days Rodeo returned to Yucca Valley for the first time in years last weekend and thousands of local residents filtered into the shows on Friday and Saturday night.
The two-night event was sponsored by the National Police Rodeo Association and featured team roping, mutton busting, bull riding and more. It had been held in Landers for the past few years but found a home in 2019 on the corner of Ina and Yucca trails next to Hawk’s Landing Golf Course.
This year Honeycutt Rodeo Inc. returned as stock contractor and the Grand Canyon Professional Rodeo Association provided the show.
“It has been about 15 years since there’s been a Honeycutt Rodeo in Yucca Valley,” said Jerry Honeycutt. “We say thanks to Hawk’s Landing for letting us come out here.”
The gates opened at 5 p.m. with stands selling food. Rodeo events began at 7, starting with bareback horse riding. Similar to bull riding, bareback is an event where contestants ride the back of bucking horses and try to stay on for as long as possible.
Contestant John Killian opened up the show riding a horse named 911 Never Forget. Rio Lee competed after Killian and had an easy ride on a horse named Shenanigans. Due to the lack of bucking by Shenanigans, Lee was given a low score and had to compete again on a different horse for a chance at a higher score.
Up next was a fan-favorite event, mutton busting. With about half a dozen kids competing, 3-year-old Coa Pierce stole the show. Pierce grabbed onto her sheep for dear life and earned the longest ride of the night, winning the competition.
After the tie-down roping competition, the rodeo took a break as the American Cowgirls Rodeo Drill Team rode into the arena. The women performed synchronized routines on horseback while carrying “thin blue line” flags paying tribute to law enforcement.
“We want to thank all our law enforcement officers that are here tonight and all of the first responders in the audience,” Honeycutt said.
“We appreciate the support,” the Morongo Basin Sheriff’s Station replied on Facebook. “Thanks to the American Cowgirl Drill Team at tonight’s Grubstakes Rodeo.”
The rodeo continued with more competition: saddle bronc, breakaway, team roping and bull riding. Saturday night ended with a dance on the grounds to the country sounds of the band Joanie Francis and the Boomers.