Guest Author - Debra Conrad
Historical and Hysterical document of Yuma Rodeo Days Past. 1955 Video including rare footage of Jack Knapp the infamous dwarf rodeo clown and Buck Abbott a celebrated bareback trick rider. The parade views include 1955 1957-1960. Full Length Video available.Yuma Rodeo Video
If it's February in Yuma, Arizona... it's time for Yuma's Silver Spur rodeo and all its events. For over 60 years the rodeo and all it's trappings have been a catalyst for visitors and locals alike. It brings out the fun and the spring weather is usually in full force as well. Temperatures run in the mid 70's for most of the month.
There is more to the Yuma rodeo than bucking broncs and cowboys.
The events start off with a bang! The Yuma Jaycees' Silver Spur Rodeo Parade!
Yes...the Silver rodeo parade is a huge event around the desert southwest. One that has floats planned out for a year and events to show off the rodeo queen contestants. Their are parade marshalls, bands and scout groups. Over 150 entries are signed up each year for the Annual Jacyee Rodeo Parade.
The first rodeo performance starts on Friday night (every year it is the same). Generally, this is active military appreciation night, when all active military and their families get in free.
It's a great night for the kids with the Mutton Busting. This event has youngsters getting on a sheep and hang on for as long as they can. It is a hit with the kids as well as the crowd. Only one rule applies for this event: The child must weigh between 30 and 50 lbs... and the winner is the last one still on a sheep! Entry is free and everyone wins a t-shirt!
Don't forget the first weekend dance is on Friday night as well!
Saturday has two performances: One in the afternoon and the ever popular Sat. evening events. Starting with the crowning of the Rodeo Queen and ending with a Rodeo Dance at the Jaycee Clubhouse.
Sunday is usually Senior Day: which allows all seniors to get their tickets at a discount. Sunday holds the final events and all the events are awarded the top cowboy...even the Hard Luck Cowboy Award is handed out. The awards are buckles
and the Hard Luck Award has a fund for extreme situations, such as major injury or even death.
The crowd pleasers always include the rodeo clown! Entertaining crowds with comedy sketches and a variety of props. The rodeo clown travels with the rodeo and calls is home portable.
The Yuma Silver Spur Rodeo has an interesting history. The Yuma Jaycees formed in 1945 and met in rented offices on Main Street until 1969 when they built their original clubhouse on Arizona Ave.
The decision to sponsor an annual rodeo event was made soon after the club was formed. The first Silver Spur Rodeo was held at the Municipal Ball Park located at 16th Street and Third Avenue.
In 1946 the Yuma Jaycee Club purchased a piece of land on Arizona and 16th Street. The building of the arena and stands was planned and fullfilled by local business, farm and ranch owners who donated time and materials.
The rodeo dances were originally held at the National Guard Armory, and later at the Joe Hunt's Sports Arena. In 1961, the clubhouse was complete and the dances were held their.
In 1975, Rodeos were held at the Yuma County Fairgrounds, and the old rodeo facility was torn down and sold off. The new facilities continue to grow with new seating, arena fencing and other rodeo facilities for the comfort of all participants and visitors.