One of Tuolumne County’s largest and most beloved annual events will not happen this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Audie Archer, general chairman of the Mother Lode Roundup, announced on Monday.
Archer said the rodeo and parade will be postponed until next year because finding another weekend this year would be difficult due to contractors having commitments to other rodeos and uncertainty over when such gatherings will be allowed again by the state.
“I don’t like the word cancelled, postponed until next year sounds better in my opinion,” he said. “It’s not like we’re cancelling the rodeo period, it’s just postponed until next year.”
The Tuolumne County Sheriff’s Posse, which organizes the event, hopes to find a date later in the summer for events associated with the Roundup, such as the rawhide roping, the rodeo queen coronations, and the Great Steak BBQ.
Archer said this will be the first time that the rodeo and parade won’t go off as planned in the event’s history, which dates back to 1958.
“Coyote Sam finally got his wish and stopped the rodeo,” he said, referring to the fictional character who attempts to stop the event from happening each year.
The posse made the decision to postpone at a meeting Thursday evening because the Mother Lode Fairgrounds wouldn’t be able to accommodate it due to Gov. Gavin Newsom’s executive order that prohibits public events and outside gatherings in response to coronavirus.
In a written statement on Sunday, the posse said it was announcing “with great sadness” that the 63rd annual Mother Lode Roundup rodeo, parade and all associated events have been postponed to an unspecified date.
“Unfortunately, as we all know, there is currently no projected end date at this time to the COVID-19 pandemic,” the statement said. “To stay in compliance with our county, federal and state recommendations we have no other choice but to postpone our events.”
The event is typically held over Mother’s Day weekend, which falls on May 9 and 10 this year.
Thousands of people typically flock to the area for the event and provide an economic boost for local businesses, some of which have said it’s consistently one of their busiest weekends every year.
Archer estimated that up to 3,600 people attend the rodeo each day and as many as 10,000 attend the parade.
“Our thoughts and prayers go out to each and every one of you,” the posse said in the statement. “Please stay safe and know this too shall pass and when it does we look forward to getting back to our normal lives and traditions which we hold close to our hearts.”
The posse said it will continue to provide updates on the event through its website at www.motherloderoundup.com, as well as its Facebook page at “Motherlode Round-up PRCA Rodeo and Parade.”