FORTUNA, Calif. (KIEM) -One of the oldest and most loved annual events in Fortuna has been cancelled which will be a big hit for the small city.
Shannon McWhorter is the president of the Board of Directors for the Fortuna Rodeo Association.
“Well I just want to let them know that we did everything that we possibly could do to try to put on the rodeo this year,” said McWhorter.
Shannon says the alternative wouldn’t have been the same, the Fortuna rodeo is more than just horses and cowboys.
“It’s a week-long event of festivities here in Fortuna, it starts on Sunday and runs through the following Sunday,” he said.
That alternative was missing the most important element.
“The only thing that was going to be, that was going to happen is we were going to have a rodeo but we couldn’t have any spectators.”
According to Shannon that wasn’t going to cut it.
“Well this is a community event, it’s not about the cowboys necessarily out there in the arena it’s about the spectators that are coming to watch them perform.
His grandson Dawson McWhorter is a junior rodeo competitor and had been looking forward to the event all year.
“I feel super bummed because it’s a nice rodeo, I like to hang-out with my friends and have a good time,” said Dawson.
According to Ben McWhorter, who is Shannon’s son and also sits on the Board of Directors for the Fortuna Rodeo Association, the cancelled event is a blow to many people locally and beyond.
Ben says, the Fortuna Rodeo is one of the oldest and largest community events on the North Coast and brings amateur competitors and attendees as far as Washington, Oregon and Nevada.
This year would have been the 99th year. Not only is the event a longtime local tradition, it has also been an important revenue stream.
“The economic impact is substantial for a small town like this, for a week-long events,” Ben said. “It’s a substantial loss for our community during that week.”
Those who were looking forward to the annual event will have to wait until next year.
“It’s sad, for people that, they look forward to the Fortuna Rodeo week and see all their friends during the week and just have a good time,” said Shannon.