A decision was made by the Orange County Sheriff Posse Tuesday evening to postpone the annual rodeo that was scheduled this weekend due to rain. The committee met at the arena to evaluate the situation.

“The new date; Aug. 24 and 25 and that’s a Friday and Saturday night. That is the weekend prior to a lot of the area schools starting, so our goal is to promote this as kinda the last summer hoorah with families before starting school,” said Jamia Harris, spokesman for the posse. “Nothing else has changed. All the same events will take place. We’re still promoting the ribbon run, the calf scramble, the lamb scramble for the kids and the calf dressing as well.”

The Orange County Sheriff Posse Rodeo is the largest rodeo held in Orange County, drawing over 2,600 spectators annually; one of the highlight events in the county.

The rodeo is always scheduled for the third weekend in July, which is this Friday and Saturday, but frequently has had to be postponed due to weather the last couple of years. It will begin at 8 p.m. on the new date. This year’s main rodeo sponsor is David Self Ford.

Events include: bull riding, Jr. bull riding, team roping, lamb scramble, calf scramble, steer wrestling, tie down roping, barrel racing and mutton busting.

A negative equine infectious anemia (EIA) test result is required.

SYJ Productions, owned by Shane and Jodi Young will provide the livestock for the rodeo. SYJ provides livestock for most of the area rodeos. The book will be open Aug. 20, the Monday before the rodeo. The 50-60 that have already signed up for the rodeo will need to re-sign at that time. Those interested can call 409-745-1471 to pre-register for rodeo events or sign up that night.

Another fun event is the calf dressing. Participants have to chase down a calf and put clothes on them. It is always good for a laugh or two. To participate in calf dressing, contact Sharon Patton at 409-781-1181.

A new event this year is the ribbon run. It is sponsored by Orange Savings Bank.

“We wanted to have an event that was for adults who aren’t competing cowboys. We have 10 events. Fun things for them to do, the lamb scramble and the calf scramble and that type of thing but, we found out we didn’t have anything for the adults to get out there and do,” said Harris. The entry fee is $50 per team, which consists of one man and one woman. “The goal is to get the ribbon off of the steer or calf’s tail and run it back across the finish line,” she said.

The prize is a 100 percent kitty payback. “If there are five teams, then the prize would be $250,” said Harris. She said they do ask people to pre-register by calling 409-920-8324. “We want to be sure we have the right number of steers in the right size,” said Harris, although, she said, they would not turn down someone that registered that night.

“We are giving away two bikes each night,” said Harris. One bicycle will be awarded to each winner of the lamb and calf scramble both nights. Moody Gardens and Schlitterbahn tickets will also be awarded for some of the kids’ events. There will be free stick horse races for children aged 5 and under.

Shawn Newell and Straight Six were scheduled to perform Saturday night this week, but for the new dates, they are available and will play both days prior to the rodeo, starting at 6:45 p.m. and again after the rodeo.

The Orange County Sheriff Posse (OCSP) is one of the oldest organizations in existence in Orange County, organized more than 60 years ago. The original founders and charter members created the OCSP to assist the sheriff’s department with search and rescue and continued on as an organization that practices and performs drill maneuvers on horseback, performs at rodeos, rides in parades and most importantly gives back to the community through the annual rodeo.

According to the OCSP Web site, they are a group of horse people that enjoy the company of other horse people. “It is made up of dedicated and committed members determined to keep our western heritage alive and well,” the site states.

Funds raised with the yearly rodeo provide money for at least five scholarships to area seniors each year. “We have given approximately $52,000 to help county youth continue their education,” it says. They have also made financial contributions to the Red Cross and Salvation Army. They sponsored the horse barrel at the Orange Lions Park.

They also fund the maintenance of the arena, which may include changing boards in the stands or replacing piping of the arena. Members keep the facility mowed and the restrooms in good working order. They update the electrical facilities and water sources regularly. The concession stand has been completely remodeled. It has all new cooking facilities and cabinets.

The 4-H organization has held several activities at the arena for Orange County youth. It is also the location of the Little Cypress Honeybears’ annual Barrels and Bulls event. The Go Texan organization has used this facility many years for Orange County Team Penning which raises money for a scholarship fund also. The location was used for a riding program developed for at risk kids.

Posse members have provided manpower and horsepower at the North Orange Early Learning Center, Library Day at Bridge City, and First Baptist Church in Bridge City’s Preschool with horse rides for young children. They also offer assistance in search and rescue operations for the Citizen Academy of the sheriff’s office.

The rodeo provides funds for most of these activities. Admission to the rodeo is $8 for adults and $4 for 12 and under. The arena is located a half mile east of Highway 62 on FM 105.

The drill team is always looking for new riding members. Practice is at 7:30 p.m. on Tuesday nights. Interested parties are invited to join them.

It is not required to live in Orange County to be a member of the Orange County Sheriff Posse.

For more information on the rodeo or on the drill team, call Drill Capt. Becky Rhoden at 409-886-2638.

About Penny LeLeux

Penny has worked at The Record Newspapers since 2006. A member of the editorial staff, she has "done everything but print it." Most frequently she writes entertainment reviews and human interest stories, with a little paranormal thrown in from time to time.She has been a lifelong member of the Orangefield community.