Get ready for rodeo and fireworks on the Fourth of July

Steve & Carol Leslie Chesaw 4th of July Rodeo Grand Marshals

Carol and Steve Leslie, this year's Chesaw Fourth of July Rodeo Grand Marshals. Submitted photo.

Carol and Steve Leslie, this year’s Chesaw Fourth of July Rodeo Grand Marshals. Submitted photo.

NORTH COUNTY – Independence Day will be celebrated with a rodeo and fireworks again this year in the North County with the 74th Annual Chesaw Fourth of July Rodeo, as well as the community fireworks display in Oroville.

Steve and Carol Leslie are this year’s Rodeo Grand Marshals, with Steve Leslie growing up and living in Chesaw his entire life, leaving for a short span when he spent two years in the service. He also worked in Seattle for two and a half years as a shop man and two years in Alaska working on a crab boat. After that he decided to come home and drive truck. In July of 1988 and he married Carol and they moved to Chesaw in 1992 and she helped him drive truck until he was finished and they sold the truck in 1992. She then began driving school bus for the Tonasket School District and says to this day she continues to haul kids around.

“I have only missed two rodeos in my lifetime around here. One when I was in the service and the other when I was in Alaska,” said Steve Leslie.

The couple put a lot of time into making sure everything is prepared for the rodeo and that the rodeo turns out a success. Fellow rodeo club members say you will never meet two harder working and kinder people.

Their favorite things about Chesaw are the “peace and quiet and the friendly people.”

Rodeo admittance is $5 and the rodeo events take place on Monday and start at 10 a.m. with the small sports. The parade is at 12:30 p.m. and the rodeo follows at 1 p.m. The rodeo again features two forms of saddle bronc riding this year. Along with the regular saddle bronc riding, there will be ranch-style saddle bronc. While similar to professional bronc riding, the difference between that and ranch bronc riding is that the cowboys ride using their everyday work saddle, rigged like they were going to go to work on the ranch that morning. The rodeo also features bareback and cow riding, as well as barrel racing and wild cow milking events. The junior events, which can be entered at no fee, are cow roping, calf roping, barrel racing and the calf scramble. For the kids there’s also the chicken catching event. The books have been open since Friday, June 25 to sign up for the senior and junior rodeo events. Entries will be accepted 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. only by calling Dalene Nigg at 509-476-2792 or 509-560-0220. The books close when events are filled and must be paid by 2 p.m. on Friday, July 1.

The family games start at 10 a.m. and the parade starts at 12:30 p.m. Those that want to sign up for parade should call Lindsey Nealey Acord at 509-485-3485 or 509-429-4359 or contact her by email at nealey02@yahoo.com to reserve a spot in the line up.

Usually the night before the rodeo is the popular Chesaw Rodeo Dance, but rather than have the dance on Sunday, this year it is on Saturday, July 2. Performing at the Country Western dance will be Rusty Spur. The dance is for families and people of all ages and starts at 9 p.m. and goes to 1 a.m. Entry is just $5 per person.

The Oroville Community Fireworks Display is in its third year being organized by the Oroville Chamber of Commerce. The chamber is promising expanded activities at Deep Bay Park, including a return of the Patriotic Song Contest and the Lighted and Decorated Boat Parade. The day at Deep Bay begins at 7 a.m. with the registration for the Be Loud Be Colorful 5K run which is hosted for its second year by the Oroville High School Cheerleader as a fundraiser. The colorful race begins at 8 a.m. and runners are showered with red, white and blue powder to show their true patriotic colors on Independence Day.

There will be an Open Mic and Talent Show starting at 3 p.m. and the Patriotic Song Contest is at 6 p.m. Food vendors will be available at the park all day.

The main event, the annual fireworks display blasts skyward beginning at dark.

Those who would like to contribute in any way to this year’s fireworks display should contact Leah Palmer at 509-429-0201 or Dan Lepley at 509-560-3368 or donate online at the chamber’s website www.orovillewashington.org. Donations can also be dropped off with Peggy Shaw at Umpqua Bank.

About Gary DeVon

Gary DeVon is the managing editor of the Okanogan Valley Gazette-Tribune and celebrated his 25th year at the newspaper in August 2012. He graduated from Gonzaga University with a degree in Communications - Print Journalism, with an emphasis in photojournalism. He is a proud alumnus of Oroville High School. His family first settled in Okanogan County in the late 1800s. His parents are Judy DeVon and the late Larry DeVon and he has two younger brothers - Dante and Michael. Many family members still call Oroville home. He has a grown daughter, Segornae Douglas and a young granddaughter, Erin.