History of the Laytonville Rodeo!
Back in 1975, at the end of a long winter. John Pinches and Bob Conners were sitting around the old redwood empire club with Pat and Ray Voiselle. They started talking rodeo and the next thing they knew, they were talking about how they ought to have a rodeo in Laytonville.
John had some land he was leasing from a fellow in New Jersey and they figured they could hold it there. Bob said there were some chutes up at Glen county Fair Grounds that weren’t being used. Some local ranches would supply the arena panels. The High School offered bleachers. The Volunteer Fire department agreed to set up a beer concession, the Little League would handle soft drinks and food.
The Rodeo would be held the second weekend in June. Tonya Guynn was named the first Laytonville Rodeo Sweetheart. When Rodeo Day came around, just about the whole town showed up to see what the local talent could do. Things kicked off with bare back and saddle bronc riding. Within twenty minutes, both ambulances were on their way to the hospital, and when the next cowboy got hurt they had to haul him off in Freddy Vincent’s van.
The Laytonville Rodeo was an instant success. All were caught up in the excitement of the Rodeo. The Laytonville Rodeo Association was formed and it set out to find a more permanent location. Having decided on a site adjacent to Harwood Park, the George Pinches Arena was constructed by the hard work of the original members. The Rodeo association purchased the property on which it now stands, building and maintaining the arena and its outbuildings. The Rodeo Association started out by holding an annual Rodeo each June and a chili cook-off & cow plop drop in the fall.
To this day it is un-known if the fellow from New Jersey who owned the land knows he hosted the first Laytonville Rodeo.
The Laytonville Rodeo Association is a non-profit organization, the revenue generated from the rodeos goes back into the grounds. The Rodeo Association thanks all the folks who have sponsored or committed there time to the rodeo to make this the “Best Lil’ Rodeo” around!