Chamber Mixer Features Previews of Upcoming Fair, Farm-City Pro Rodeo

Folks line up for dinner at the Hermiston Chamber of Commerce's Evening Mixer on Thursday, July 13, 2023. The event featured previews of the Umatilla County Fair and Farm-City Pro Rodeo. (Photos by Michael Kane)

With the Umatilla County Fair and the Farm-City Pro Rodeo less than a month away, board members for both events gave a preview during the Hermiston Chamber of Commerce’s Evening Mixer Thursday night.

Held at the Bennett Botanical Gardens in Hermiston, the evening included dinner, a no-host bar and giveaways.

“This is a nice way to kick things off,” said Umatilla County Commissioner Dan Dorran, who served as emcee for the event.

Umatilla County Fair Court Chaperone Rebecca Manning talks about next month’s event at the Hermiston Chamber of Commerce’s Evening Mixer on Thursday, July 23, 2023. Also pictured are Fair Court members Annikah Perez, Ainsley McCann, Ashlynn Cutburth and Selena Cuellar.

Fair Manager Angie McNalley highlighted the week’s entertainment. Outlaw country artist Warren Zeiders will take the Main Stage on Wednesday, followed by Shoot to Thrill, an AC/DC tribute band, on Thursday. Country artist Joe Nichols is the headliner on Friday night, and Latino Night caps the week off on Saturday featuring four different musical acts.

Carnival wristbands are now on presale for $28 and can be purchased online on the fair website. They can also be purchased at the fair office and at Velasco Used Car Sales in Hermiston. The wristbands will cost $35 during fair week.

McNalley also noted that children 10 and under will get free admittance to the fair each day thanks to the support of the city of Hermiston, Umatilla Electric Cooperative’s Hydromania, Lamb Weston and Rogers Toyota.

The fair’s kick-off parade will take place at 6:30 p.m. on Saturday, Aug. 5. Saturday, July 15 is the deadline to register to enter the parade. Saturday is also the deadline for open class exhibitor registration and to submit exhibitor camping applications.

The 35th annual Farm-City Pro Rodeo was previewed by board member Jon Gill, who noted that last year the fair was ranked 28th out of more than 700 rodeos across the country.

“We’re very proud of that, but we’re not happy,” Gill said. “We want to be in the top 20.”

Gill also congratulated locals David Bothum and Butch Knowles who each were inducted into rodeo halls of fame earlier this year. Knowles, of Heppner, was inducted into the Pro Rodeo Hall of Fame and Bothum, of Hermiston, was inducted into the St. Paul Rodeo Hall of Fame.

This year’s barrel man will be Cody Sosebee, one of the top rodeo clowns and entertainers for the past decade. Bullfighters will be Nate Jestes and Beau Sheets.

Garrett Yerigan and Steve Kenyon will serve as this year’s announcers.

Gill said this year’s event will feature 701 rodeo contestants and 106 barrel racers.

New this year will be participation by Camp Patriot, a nonprofit organization that takes disabled vets on outdoor adventures. Sponsored by Ranch & Home, Camp Patriot will be helping out during Friday night’s Military Night. The rodeo will match $1 for every ticket sold on Military Night and donate the money to Camp Patriot.

Rodeo tickets are on sale on the Farm-City website.

“There is a lot going on at the fair and rodeo this year,” said Dorran.

Both the fair and rodeo take place Aug. 9-12 at the Eastern Oregon Trade & Event Center in Hermiston.


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