Rodeo Tradition is Strong in Orange County
Friday and Saturday night, July 18 and 19, will continue the tradition of rodeo in Orange County that is over 50 years old. The Orange County Sheriff’s Posse will be presenting its’ annual rodeo in the arena on Highway 105.
This year’s rodeo is dedicated to the memory of Warren “Dub” Stine, a former Posse president. Stine died in March at 69, having worked at the Orange Rice Mill for many years. He also farmed and ranched in Texarkana, Ark., and was employed with Choupique Enterprises’ cattle operations unit.
Stine was a longtime member of the Posse and a rodeo volunteer who worked the arena every year he was a member.
Stine’s daughter Liz Gillen will be involved in the memorial presentation for her father. Riding her horse, she will lead Stine’s saddled horse behind her.
Shane Young of SYJ Productions will be bringing 25 years experience in rodeos to this year’s performances.
Young has put together another exciting rodeo package. He is noted for bringing some of the best rough stock available to his shows.
Young also has the contacts to bring in roping stock that will give all the contestants a run for their money.
This is a full event rodeo, designed for competitors of all ages.
Kids age five and under will be “Mutton Bustin.” Contestants have the opportunity to attempt riding a sheep. Some of the best bull riders began their careers this way.
For the guys 12 and under, Calf Riding is another event on the road to becoming a bull rider.
There will be two categories of bull riding, Junior and Senior.
Bareback and Saddle Bronc riding are the events for “wild horse riders.”
Ropers can enter in two categories, Tie-down, the traditional calf roping event and team roping.
Sometimes called “heading and heeling,” team roping is a two man event with one roping the head of the steer and the other roping the hind legs, or heeling.
Rodeo’s big man event, Steer Wrestling will be featured also.
For the girls and ladies who compete there will be three divisions of barrel racing; Peewee, for the young girls, Junior for the teens, and Open for the older teens and ladies.
For the cowgirls, there is also Breakaway Roping.
Rodeo’s “fun event”, calf dressing, will return this year. In this event teams of four people will attempt to dress a calf in a bra and panties. The humor centers around the calf not wanting to be dressed, and the team members trying to restrain and dress the uncooperative calf.
The Orange County Sheriff’s Posse has hosted the annual rodeo since the early 1950’s. The first arena was on old Highway 90, west of Pinehurst.The present arena was purchased from the Orange Jaycees when they stopped producing their rodeo. It gave the Posse a larger venue.
The rodeo was postponed the last two years, because the grounds were too wet for parking. This year will go on as scheduled. The weather has been dry and the parking area is in great shape.
“The rodeo is our fundraiser for the year; with the money going to scholarships. This year we were able to give eight $500 scholarships. We consider students from all the Orange County schools,” said Becky Rhoden of the Posse. “Three scholarships were given to students at Vidor alone this year.” A rodeo background is not required to apply for the scholarships. They are given based on need and scholastic achievement.
The Gus Harris Memorial Scholarships are named for one of the founding members of the Posse. Harris was also a long-time member and captain of the mounted drill team.
Though the sheriff’s posse was once a vital part of the county sheriff’s department and was involved in law enforcement that is no longer the case. The modern day sheriff’s posse is mostly a sentimental operation in tribute to days gone by. It has no function within the structure of the sheriff’s department.
Their most visible functions are the rodeo and the mounted drill team, will be a featured attraction at the arena. “Our drill team meets for practice every Tuesday starting at 7:00 p.m. at the arena,” said Rhoden.
“We need members, there is a lot more that we could do with more people,” said Rhoden. “Anyone is eligible to join the Orange County Sheriff’s Posse. You do not need to be a rider or to even own a horse. We have an activity for anyone and a lot of work to be done. There is always a need for new members. There are about 50 members now, including three generations of the Harris family, Mr. Gus’s son, grandson, and great grandson. “
This event is for local cowboys and cowgirls. It is an “open rodeo,” which means that anyone can enter without being a member of a rodeo association.
Anyone interested in participating in this year’s event can contact SYJ Productions at 409-745-1471. The books open at 6 p.m. each day. Proof of a Coggins test is required for all horses. General rodeo information is available by calling 409-886-2638.
You may call 409-781-1181 for information about the calf dressing event.
Admission is $7 for adults, and $4 for ages 12 and under.
Sponsors include Lloyd’s RV Center and Cecil Atkission Motors.