Doors open at 6 p.m. with the “Grand Entry” at 7:30 p.m. all three days.
A classic list of events is planned, including saddle bronc riding, bull riding, barrel racing, team roping, steer wrestling and calf roping.
“The No. 1 event is always bull riding,” said Marsha Leota, Canyonlands Rodeo Club secretary. “Everyone wants to hang around for bull riding.”
She said barrel racing is another popular event, and the format will change this year. Only local riders may compete in barrel racing this year as a way to increase interest among community members seeing their own neighbors race for top prizes, Leota said.
Special events for children are on tap, too. Those include stick-pony races for children age 5 to 6, a greased pig scramble, and mutton busting, in which kids try to ride sheep. Mutton busting is open to kids age 6 to 9 and weighing less than 65 pounds, Leota said.
“Mutton busting is huge for that age group,” she said, “and the greased pig contest is big, too.”
Leota noted that the children’s events will be held each night during breaks between PRCA events. Each competition will be limited to 10 children, with the first ones to sign up starting at 6 p.m. allowed to take part, she said.
Beer and liquor will be sold during each evening’s performances, and during a concert by JagerTown, a Salt Lake City country music group, after Saturday’s rodeo events. The concert is included for ticket-holders for Saturday’s rodeo, or people may purchase a concert ticket only for $16 for adults, said Danette Johnson of the rodeo club.
Overall, the rodeo plans to be bigger than ever this year.
“There are quite a few more contestants this year than last year because the prize money is up,” Johnson said.
A carnival will be set up adjacent to the arena each day and evening with rides suitable for adults and kids, Johnson said.
Justin Rumford, the 2012 PRCA Clown of the Year, will help keep the cowboys safe, and entertain the audience, in his role as rodeo clown.
“He will interact with adults and children,” Leota said. “It’s that interaction with the crowd that makes it fun.”
Stock contractor Bar T Rodeo Inc. will once again provide the animals. Jody Carpenter will serve as rodeo announcer.
Miss Navajo Nation, Leandra Thomas of Steamboat Canyon, Ariz., will ride in Saturday’s 10 a.m. parade and again in Saturday night’s Grand Entry, Leota said. She said everyone is invited to enter the parade by signing up in advance on the rodeo website and meeting at Swanny City Park at 9 a.m. Saturday.
“It’s just a fun parade,” she said. “You can enter if you want to ride a horse or want to enter your business.”
Even dog owners who want to show off their pooch may join in the fun, Leota added.
She emphasized that the rodeo is a nonprofit event that relies on tickets sales, sponsorships by local businesses, and a loan from the Grand County Recreation Special Service District.
“It’s an event put on for the community, and it has grown drastically over the years,” she said.
The rodeo kicks off Thursday evening with special low admission prices for children under the age of 12 ($5), veterans and seniors age 60 and older ($8), adults ($10) and families ($40), said Johnson.
Advance tickets may be purchased online at www.MoabCanyonlandsRodeo.com or at several local businesses. Advance tickets for Saturday and Sunday range in price from $14 for adults to $9 for children. Tickets at the door are $16 for adults and $10 for children under 12. Family tickets packages are also available.
Tickets can be purchased at City Market, 425 S. Main St.; Moab Information Center, 125 E. Center St.; Big Horn Lodge, 550 S. Main St.; and O’Reilly’s Auto Parts, 1026 S. Main St.