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BUCKS AT THE RODEO
St. Paul Rodeo provides opportunities for fundraising
St. Paul, Ore. (June 12, 2017) – The “bucks” at the St. Paul Rodeo are more than just the horses and bulls in the arena.
They’re the dollars that are raised by the rodeo and given back in dozens of ways, through the various organizations that provide food, drink and parking to rodeo-goers.
Three groups: the St. Paul Parish, the St. Paul High School Booster Club, and the St. Paul Jaycees, all provide services to the 50,000 fans who enjoy the St. Paul Rodeo June 30-July 4, and through their work, provide funding for their groups.
The Parish serves barbecue chicken to rodeo fans, cooking 6,500 chickens with their secret recipe, said Laurie Nicklous, a volunteer with the St. Paul Parish Chicken Barbecue stand. The barbecue chicken is a highlight for many rodeo-goers, Nicklous said. “People come from all around, and sometimes just because of the chicken. They really look forward to it.”
The St. Paul Parochial Elementary School benefits from funds raised, and funds also go to activities for the parish. The barbecue chicken sales are the group’s major fundraiser for the year.
The high school booster club is responsible for concession stands in the grandstand and for parking cars, and over the five days of rodeo, more than 150 people will volunteer their time. Each sport: football, boys basketball, girls basketball, cross country, track, softball and baseball, take their turns at helping park cars, and the students can be found alongside their parents and other volunteers in selling cotton candy, hot dogs, pretzels, nachos, pop, candy, and the famous St. Paul rodeo strawberry shortcake in the concessions stands under the grandstand.
It’s the only fundraiser the booster club holds, said Kathy Wilmes, a volunteer with the club, and it’s more convenient to work the five days of rodeo instead of holding lots of car washes and cake walks. Money raised goes towards athletics at the school: uniforms, equipment, upgrades, and just recently, new bleachers in the existing gym, to replace bleachers that were there when the school was built in the 1950’s.
Volunteering with the parish and booster club is good for the kids who do it, says both Nicklous and Wilmes. In the chicken stand, they graduate to bigger jobs as they get older. “First you’re serving pop or buttering bread or mixing coleslaw,” Nicklous said. “And pretty soon you’re the guy who serves the chicken. Our kids learn a great work ethic, and sometimes they’re working alongside their grandma or grandpa.”
Wilmes, whose daughters, ages 30, 28, 26 and 21, are no longer in high school, continues to volunteer with the booster club, and when it’s rodeo time, she’s right there, along with nearly everyone else in St. Paul, working at the rodeo. “There’s nothing worse to me than being home during the rodeo,” she laughed. “I can’t stand it. I have to be up there (at the rodeo grounds.) I’m sure I’m not the only one who feels that way, either.”
The St. Paul Jaycees are responsible for the “bull pen” – the beer garden area of the rodeo. Between 500 and 600 people make their way through the bull pen during each day of the celebration, and with only thirty Jaycees, each member recruits family and friends to help. As with the parish and the booster club, no one is paid; everyone is volunteer, and all of the funds the Jaycees raise go back to the community. They donate to sports teams, several school functions, and recently, donated $2,500 to a family in need of a handicap accessible vehicle.
The real winners of the St. Paul Rodeo are the youth of the town, said Nicklous. With most of the funds raised by the parish, the booster club and the Jaycees going to youth athletics, the school, and families in need, “the biggest benefactor is all of our kids,” she said. Organizations beyond the community of St. Paul also benefit.
The St. Paul Rodeo kicks off June 30, and runs through July 4 with performances each night at 7:30 pm and a 1:30 pm matinee on July 4. Fireworks follow each night of rodeo; the carnival, Wild West Art Show, and the Tack Room Saloon are just a few of the activities for fans. Rodeo tickets are available online and at the gate. For more information or to purchase tickets, visit www.StPaulRodeo.com or call 800.237.5920.