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Things To Do in Olympia and Surrounding Areas This Weekend: February 22-24

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Grays Harbor Mounted Posse Rodeo

At the Grays Harbor Mounted Posse Indoor Pro Rodeo, families from near and far come to enjoy “tough-as-nails cowboys mastering an angry bull, wild cow milking, or just relaxing listening and dancing to live music.” Take a break from the action at on-site vendors, food booths, bouncy houses, and more. Come kick the dust up at the annual rodeo happening March 22-24.

Posse treasurer Marv Cole explains that they’ve been involved with the Rodeo for 23 of its 25 years. Hosting “close to 3,000 visitors every year,” the event raises money that “all goes back to the kids—every dime—and charitable organizations like helping the homeless, food banks, and high school scholarships through Grays Harbor County.”

A Short History of Rodeo

The word ‘rodeo’ comes from the Spanish for ‘roundup’ and has long been part of America’s history. Whether your family lives and breathes the cowboy life or you prefer to cheer from the sidelines, everyone is welcome at the annual Grays Harbor Mounted Posse Indoor Pro Rodeo, March 22-24.

According to the ProRodeo Hall of Fame, “Rodeo as we know it did not exist until the late 1800s, but its roots in North America are traced back to the Spanish settling California and becoming cattle ranchers…The skills of the early Spanish vaqueros were eventually passed along to the American Cowboy after the civil war when the frontier territories were heavily expanding.”

Perhaps the most famous rodeos were Wild West Shows featuring Buffalo Bill Cody, Annie Oakley, Calamity Jane, Will Rogers and other famous performers. Today rodeos follow the pattern of the 1888 Prescott, Arizona rodeo that “included bronco riding, steer roping and cow pony races. In 1889, the first steer riding competition was held, later this event evolved into modern bull riding. By 1917, calf roping was added to the list of events.”

The Mounted Posse Indoor Pro Rodeo

grays harbor mounted posse


Rodeo lifestyles may seem like something from the history books. But thanks to the Posse’s dedicated fundraising efforts, it’s still alive and well today. The Posse is a non-profit organization that raises funds for high school student scholarships, food banks, 4H clubs, and many other deserving recipients throughout Grays Harbor and the surrounding area.

Bring the kids and let them glimpse into the past; it’ll inspire them to do the same with their children someday and keep history alive.

Rain or shine, the rodeo is one of the highlights of the Grays Harbor County Fairgrounds annual calendar. A very family oriented event, says Cole, they’ve recently reorganized the weekend. Saturday, doors open at 5:00 p.m. with the rodeo starting at 7:00 p.m. That night caters to the 21+ crowd with food, a beer garden, and live music.

Friday and Sunday are geared towards families across the region. Doors open at 5:00 p.m. on Friday, with the rodeo at 7:00 p.m., and 10:00 a.m. on Sunday, with the rodeo starting at 2:00 p.m. Family packs of tickets (for these two days only) are $25, with kids aged 5 and under free. Otherwise adult tickets are $10, $7 for kids 6-12.

Overall fan-favorites are always the speedy barrel-racers and brave bull riders. Look for team roping, steer wrestling, calf roping, bareback riding and wild cow milking.

Grays Harbor Mounted Posse Rodeo 2018

But Sunday is Kids Day with free fun galore including the ever-popular stick horse races. Registered competitors aged 9 and under race with vintage-looking stick horses, which they can keep after the event. Cole recalls that “this is a huge success for us. We started with 50 stick horses but now give out over 200.”

There are also sack races for ages 7 and up with brand new bicycles awarded to winners in each age group.

Events are held at the Grays Harbor County Fair and Event Center, located at 32 Elma McCleary Road. They host rodeos and equestrian events year-round and the bustling County Fair each summer. Follow their online Calendar for activities for the whole family.  Follow the Grays Harbor Mounted Posse on Facebook for upcoming activities, Rodeo royalty, and photos galore.

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Your Guide to Grays Harbor County Holiday Activities


Photo credit: Lost River Photography.

Your Guide to Grays Harbor County Holiday Activities

Central Park PTO Holiday Bazaar

601 School Rd, Aberdeen
November 3, 9:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.
Cost: Free

Jump start your holiday shopping at the Central Park PTO Holiday Bazaar. There will be many local vendors with handmade as well as commercial gifts for everyone on your list. Food will be available for purchase and even a Seahawk gift basket raffle! Santa will also make an appearance. Vendor table fees contribute to field trips, assemblies and extra items for the Central Park Elementary.  Read more here:

Grays Harbor ORV Park Promoters Endeavor to Create Multi-Use Park

The beautiful GHORV park has five tracks for riders to enjoy. Photo courtesy: GHORV.

Grays Harbor ORV Park Promoters Endeavor to Create Multi-Use Park

GHORV is a great place for adults and children to get in some riding time between March and October. Photo courtesy: GHORV.

“They’ve got plans for new events and ways to maximize use and benefit the facility for the community,” explains Grays Harbor Fairgrounds and Tourism manager, Mike Bruner. “It’s the type of facility that most communities don’t have and people come from all over the state, or even the region, to ride there.”

The new lease holders, Brent Davis and prominent motocross rider Ryan Villopoto, have been collaborating to operate the park with many upgrades in mind. They plan to put Grays Harbor and the GHORV on the map for not only UTV and ATV riding events and motocross, but also downhill mountain biking, mud runs, concerts, camp sites and more.  Read more here:

Priceless Holiday Memories are Made at Montesano’s Festival of Lights


Montesano Festival of Lights parade downtown

Don’t miss this dazzling parade of lights. Photo courtesy: Festival of Lights

Priceless Holiday Memories are Made at Montesano’s Festival of Lights December 7-9

Montesano Festival of Lights parade log trucks

Watch a whole city light up in colorful colors as the Festival of Lights parade makes its way through Montesano on December 8. Photo courtesy: Festival of Lights

“The city of Montesano purchased the equipment and so they’re running that show at Fleet Park,” Leslie Goings, Festival of Lights parade chair says. “Each weekend, there’s a different non-profit. So, they’re asking for donations and then that non-profit for that weekend will get the proceeds.”

Sometimes there is a specific theme for the festival, but this year they are keeping it traditional with a theme of “lights” to welcome aboard the Jingle Lights show and for everyone to twinkle brightly during the parade. “We decided not to do a sub-theme, we’re sticking with the Festival of Lights,” says Goings. “Part of it is it has been so specific over the last couple of years that we wanted to let some of the participants reuse some of their decorations, but also with Jingle Lights coming this year we really wanted to focus on lights.”

The magic of the season comes through in Montesano this time of year as people help each other to bring alive the spirit of the holidays. A committee works tirelessly to put on the festival, but dozens of people also help through doing everything from decorating to hosting events.  Further, the event is made possible by a generous grant from the Grays Harbor County Department of Fair, Events and Tourism.

“It’s pretty much a city-wide effort,” shares Goings. “The city and public works department, they put up the garland around town, and each business is responsible for doing their own decorating. And then we have just a lot of support, whether it’s monetary sponsorships or donations. Everyone just kind of works together.”

A huge crowd of 13,000 came to town for the parade last year and with new entries coming onto the scene this year, it’ll be even bigger. “We have quite a few new participants this year that I’m excited about,” says Goings, commenting that businesses such as the Extreme Fun Center and Home Depot are coming along with the usual groups that always have dazzling displays.  Read more here:

Clash of the Cowboys Rodeo Brings Evening of Fun to Grays Harbor Fairgrounds October 27

Rodeo fans will have to hang onto their hats as the Clash of the Cowboys rodeo brings a wild ride to town at 7:00 p.m. on Saturday, October 27 at the Grays Harbor Fairgrounds. Sponsored by Bud Light, Clash of the Cowboys will have everyone cheering and rooting for riders as bull riding, bronc busting, and barrel racing competitions happen in a fast-moving and exciting night at the rodeo. Read more