NORTH COUNTY – Like every year the North Okanogan comes alive for Independence Day and this is no exception with the Fourth of July Rodeo in Chesaw and fireworks displays in Oroville.
This year, Andrew and Gloria Joseph will serve as the Grand Marshals for Chesaw’s annual rodeo event. Andrew Joseph was born at Chopaka and moved near Chesaw after his mother died to live with his aunt and uncle, Joennie and Saul Joseph. There he grew up helping raise cattle and breaking work horses, while attending school in Chesaw. He still owns the land on Pontiac Ridge today, said Joseph.
He’s no stranger to the rodeo and rode a calf as a boy and then tried cows and horses off and on, he says. He even rode a cow at the rodeo’s fiftieth year celebration and God-willing he says he’ll be back for the 75th.
His wife of 30 years, Gloria Freelander, was raised in Nespelem and graduated from Coulee Dam High School.
Together they raised 12 children and have been blessed with 27 grandchildren.
They said the have a lot of fond memories and are thankful for having a “wonderful Christian life.”
The rodeo festivities actually start off with a dance from 9 p.m. to 1 a.m. at the Rodeo Hall on Friday July 3. Powder River is scheduled to provide the music for the evening.
On the big day, Saturday, July 4, the morning starts off with small sports at 10 a.m. The Josephs lead off the parade starting at 12:30 p.m. and event organizers say they are always looking for more parade participants. Those with an interest should call (509) 485-2103.
The rodeo follows the parade and features junior and senior events, as well as kids events. For the seniors their will be cow riding, calf roping saddle bronc and bareback riding. The junior events include cow riding, calf roping and barrel racing. There is also men’s wild cow milking and open barrel racing. The kids can participate in the calf scramble and try their luck at calf riding. C&C Rodeo Co. is providing the stock for the rodeo.
The rodeo is one of the most popular annual events in the Okanogan Highlands and usually swells the tiny community of Chesaw from a population in the low double-digits to well over a thousand. The rodeo is presented annually by the Chesaw Rodeo Club.
Following a busy day at the rodeo, everyone is invited to Oroville’s Deep Bay Park to enjoy the Oroville Community Fourth of July Fireworks Display.
Dane Forrester, the head organizer of the event says the public should expect to see a “grand show” and that special water displays are again planned this year. The fireworks begin just after dark and people who watch from the park should consider bringing a chair or a blanket to spread out in the grass.
Forrester is also seeking donations which are an integral part in bringing the fireworks back to the community each year. Anyone that can donate should contact him at (509) 560-0254.
A Fourth of July fireworks display will also be held outside of the Assisted Living Center in Tonasket when it turns dark on Saturday, July 4.
The fireworks begin at approximately 9:30 p.m. and refreshments will be served free of charge outside of the center as well, Warner Bartleson, North Valley Hospital administrator, said.