People lined First Street in downtown Cheney Saturday for the parade that is part of this weekend’s 52nd annual Cheney Rodeo.
The day was warm but not oppressively so, though people were glad to trade stories of years when the parade took place during sweltering heat. Rhonda Scott and her family were among those who picked a spot in the shade to watch the parade.
Their preferred spot also had the advantage of being across from the Zip’s restaurant, so her husband Mark could run across the street and get the family lunch. “You kind of catch the end of the parade,” she said.
The family had been to the Friday night rodeo and the kids – 8-year-old Henry, 7-year-old Josie and 3-year-old Silvia – had their bags out ready for candy to be tossed their way.
“I grew up here,” Scott said. “I have been coming to the Cheney parade since I was two or three,” she said.
The family wouldn’t think of missing it, she said. “This is tradition,” she said. “This is big. We do not go out of town.”
Her husband, who grew up in Valley, Washington, has become a fan. “It’s awesome,” he said. “I love all the patriotism and the fire trucks. The girls love the princesses.”
There was certainly no shortage of rodeo queens and princesses on horses. There were queens representing towns close to home like Spokane, Newport and Ritzville, but there were also rodeo queens from Kitsap, Kennewick and Cle Elem. The Spokane C.O.P.S. Mounted Patrol also made an appearance.
The parade was a true hometown event with plenty of small entries. Several local businesses, including Cheney Feed and Tack, Ace Hardware and Yoke’s, were represented. The Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts were represented, and the Cheney High School football team filled a truck and a trailer. The Lilac Festival float with the queen and her court was also there.
The Spokane County Library District came with a book cart drill team, and several local politicians asked bystanders to vote for them in the upcoming election. A dozen fire trucks and water tenders from the Cheney Fire Department and Spokane County Fire District 3 closed the event.
Anna Bollinger waved and hugged people from her spot in the shade along the parade route. “I’ve lived in Cheney since high school,” she said. “It’s not as hot this year as some years, but I always look for the shade.”
She works as a sixth-grade teacher in the Medical Lake School District and said she likes to come because she always sees someone she knows in the parade, whether it’s a former student or a neighbor.
“I like seeing the people I know,” she said. “I can root for them and wave.”
The Cheney Rodeo weekend continues Sunday with cowboy church at 9 a.m. and the Rascal Rodeo at 10 a.m. at the Bi-Mart Arena, 14310 S. State Route 904. The Rascal Rodeo is a modified rodeo designed for people with physical and developmental disabilities. Rascal Rodeo is based in the Tri-Cities and hosts events all over the Northwest. Parents can register their children to participate in the Rascal Rodeo at the event.
The gates open at noon for the PRCA rodeo at 2 p.m. There will also be open bull riding for anyone age 18 or older. Space is limited to 12 riders, and the entry fee is $50. The top four will split $1,750 in prize money. Participants must wear a cowboy hat or helmet as well as a long sleeve western shirt, jeans and boots.
Tickets to the rodeo are $18 at the gate and parking is free.
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