SANDPOINT — In its second year operating as a professional rodeo, the Bonner County Rodeo was recently awarded 2016 Small Rodeo of the Year through the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association Columbia River Circuit.
"To obtain that award in only two years is a pretty good accomplishment for our committee," said Jimmy Cornelius, president of the Bonner County Rodeo committee.
Large and small rodeos from across Oregon, Washington and the northern half of Idaho competed in the PRCA Columbia River Circuit finals, held Oct. 4-5 in Yakima, Wash. Cornelius said Oregon's Pendleton Roundup won 2016 Large Rodeo of the Year.
"Any time you get mentioned in the same paragraph with somebody like Pendleton, that's a good thing," he said.
Also, Cornelius said, three of the horses that were brought to Sandpoint for the August rodeo by the committee's stock contractor, C5 Rodeo Company in Canada, made it to the national finals in Las Vegas last month.
"Two of those horses won rounds at the national finals," Cornelius said. "So some of the top stock in North America is now coming to Sandpoint."
A stock contractor provides animals for rodeo competition, such as rough stock and roping events.
Bonner County kicked off its 2016 rodeo season Aug. 5-6 at the Bonner County Fairgrounds. During the-two day event, the committee held a Miracle Minute Fundraiser to raise money in support of local cancer organizations.
Cornelius said each evening of the event, the rodeo committee had a few people hit the stands with buckets to collect as much money as they could in 60 seconds from the crowd.
In two nights, therefore two minutes, the committee raised nearly $1,800. One-hundred percent of those funds went to the local organizations Community Cancer Services and Bonner County Hospice.
"Hopefully it catches on more and more as the years go by, but 100 percent of those funds go to the local cancer organizations — we don't hold any out and none of it gets sent out of town," he said.
The 2017 Bonner County Rodeo is scheduled for Aug. 4-5. Pre-sale tickets will be available in the spring at $13 for adults and $7 for kids. Tickets purchased at the gate will be $15 for adults and $8 for kids, or a two-day family pass will be available, which includes two adults and two kids, for $50 — one of the "best deals in family entertainment," Cornelius said.