At the Grays Harbor Mounted Posse Indoor Pro Rodeo, families from near and far come to enjoy “tough-as-nails cowboys mastering an angry bull, wild cow milking, or just relaxing listening and dancing to live music.” Take a break from the action at on-site vendors, food booths, bouncy houses, and more. Come kick the dust up at the 25th annual rodeo happening March 23-25.

Grays Harbor Mounted Posse Rodeo Marv Cole
Treasurer Marv Cole and the Posse welcome close to 3,000 visitors to the Grays Harbor County Fair and Event Center for the Rodeo every fourth weekend in March. Photo credit: Marv Cole

Posse treasurer Marv Cole explains that they’ve been involved with the Rodeo for 23 of its 25 years. Hosting “close to 3,000 visitors every year,” the event raises money that “all goes back to the kids—every dime—and charitable organizations like helping the homeless, food banks, and high school scholarships through Grays Harbor County.”

A Short History of Rodeo

The word ‘rodeo’ comes from the Spanish for ‘roundup’ and has long been part of America’s history. Whether your family lives and breathes the cowboy life or you prefer to cheer from the sidelines, everyone is welcome at the 25th annual Grays Harbor Mounted Posse Indoor Pro Rodeo, March 23-25.

According to the ProRodeo Hall of Fame, “Rodeo as we know it did not exist until the late 1800s, but its roots in North America are traced back to the Spanish settling California and becoming cattle ranchers…The skills of the early Spanish vaqueros were eventually passed along to the American Cowboy after the civil war when the frontier territories were heavily expanding.”

Perhaps the most famous rodeos were Wild West Shows featuring Buffalo Bill Cody, Annie Oakley, Calamity Jane, Will Rogers and other famous performers. Today rodeos follow the pattern of the 1888 Prescott, Arizona rodeo that “included bronco riding, steer roping and cow pony races. In 1889, the first steer riding competition was held, later this event evolved into modern bull riding. By 1917, calf roping was added to the list of events.”

The Mounted Posse Indoor Pro Rodeo

grays harbor mounted posse
Fans and horseback riding skill enthusiasts can expect action like this at the Grays Harbor Mounted Posse Indoor Pro Rodeo. Photo courtesy: Grays Harbor Fairgrounds.

Rodeo lifestyles may seem like something from the history books. But thanks to the Posse’s dedicated fundraising efforts, it’s still alive and well today. The Posse is a non-profit organization that raises funds for high school student scholarships, food banks, 4H clubs, and many other deserving recipients throughout Grays Harbor and the surrounding area.

Bring the kids and let them glimpse into the past; it’ll inspire them to do the same with their children someday and keep history alive.

Rain or shine, the rodeo is one of the highlights of the Grays Harbor County Fairgrounds annual calendar. A very family oriented event, says Cole, they’ve recently reorganized the weekend. Saturday, March 24, doors open at 5:00 p.m. with the rodeo starting at 7:00 p.m. That night caters to the 21+ crowd with food, a beer garden, and live music by Cory Daniels and Humptulips.

Friday and Sunday, March 23 and 25, are geared towards families across the region. Doors open at 5:00 p.m. on Friday, with the rodeo at 7:00 p.m., and 10:00 a.m. on Sunday, with the rodeo starting at 2:00 p.m. Family packs of tickets (for these two days only) are $25, with kids aged 5 and under free. Otherwise adult tickets are $10, $7 for kids 6-12.

Overall fan-favorites are always the speedy barrel-racers and brave bull riders. Look for team roping, steer wrestling, calf roping, bareback riding and wild cow milking.

Grays Harbor Mounted Posse Rodeo 2018
The Grays Harbor Mounted Posse is a non-profit that raises money for local children, food banks, and high school scholarships across the county. Photo credit: Greg Moore

But Sunday is Kids Day with free fun galore including the ever-popular stick horse races. Registered competitors aged 9 and under race with vintage-looking stick horses, which they can keep after the event. Cole recalls that “this is a huge success for us. We started with 50 stick horses but now give out over 200.”

There are also sack races for ages 7 and up with brand new bicycles awarded to winners in each age group.

New in 2018, the top ten youth winners of a local Rochester rodeo competition will compete at the Indoor Pro Rodeo on Sunday, March 25. This starts a new trend of local rider participation as next year they’ll host young adult brackets for seniors, intermediates, juniors, and peewees.

Events are held at the Grays Harbor County Fair and Event Center, located at 32 Elma McCleary Road. They host rodeos and equestrian events year-round and the bustling County Fair each summer. Follow their online Calendar for activities for the whole family.

Follow the Grays Harbor Mounted Posse on Facebook for upcoming activities, Rodeo royalty, and photos galore.


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