Fair's rodeo June 18 to feature grand marshal and real cowboy events

The Merced County Fair said its rodeo will be held Friday, June 18, in the CVC/CVT Grandstand.

The rodeo, which traditionally has been on Saturday of fair week, is moving to Friday. The fair is Tuesday, June 15 through Sunday, June 20.

The Merced Rodeo Committee’s pre-rodeo festivities include crowning of the 2010 Miss Merced County Fair Rodeo Queen at 6 p.m., followed by the event for local cowboys, the “rope, mug and run.”

At 7 p.m., the Grand Entry will kick off with this year’s Grand Marshal, Dr. Ed LeTourneau, riding into the CVC/CVT Grandstand arena on his horse, a first for the Merced County Fair Rodeo. LeTourneau is a Rodeo Hall of Famer and Madera County veterinarian.

The Rodeo follows, featuring cowboys competing in action-packed events. The rodeo and all CVC/CVT Grandstand shows are free with the price of admission. The rodeo is presented by Kragen O’Reilly Auto Parts, Rabobank, Rancho San Miguel and Merced Irrigation District.

This year’s Rodeo Queen Contest features seven contestants from Merced, Mariposa, Madera and Stanislaus Counties. They are: Aspen Kenyon, 16, Empire, Enochs High School; Brittany Hart, 21, Madera, Reedley College; Julia Chamberlain, 16, Turlock, Turlock Christian High School; Kaitlyn Casner, 16, Mariposa, Mariposa High School; Emily Capehart, 15, Chowchilla, Chowchilla High School; Ondrea Edwards, 20, Atwater, Merced College and Nicole Harstad, 17, Merced, Golden Valley High School.

The Grand Marshal, Dr. LeTourneau, 73, grew up on an Oakdale farm, exercised racehorses when he was a kid, and practiced as a veterinarian for 35 years, caring for large animals from all over the Valley.

Presented by the 35th District Agricultural Association, the 119th annual fair’s theme is “Wetlands, Water and Wildlife.” For more information call (209) 722-1507, fax at (209) 722-3773 or email to Info@MercedCountyFair.com

Visit the 2010 Merced County Fair’s website, www.MercedCountyFair.com and connect on Facebook and Twitter.