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That Danged Ol' Rodeo! 

This week is why Fortuna was invented. 'Tis once again that time of year, cowboys and cowgirls, to dust off your hat, shine your spurs and paint on your Wrangler's for the 90th Annual Fortuna Rodeo, July 11-17, taking place mostly in Rohner Park's rodeo grounds. Can I get a "Yee-haw?"

Now, we at the Journal take Rodeo week seriously. So serious that it shouldn't be too hard to locate our comprehensive 2011 Rodeo Guide in the Friendly City should you make the pilgramage -- it was also stuffed in your NCJ a couple weeks back and can be pulled through a series of tubes online at northcoastjournal.com/specialpublications.

But if you don't want to go to that trouble we’ll give you a brief rundown in these pages. Know, reader, that we are already off and running with Rodeo week festivities. If you weren't aware, I'm sorry to inform you that you missed Monday's chili cookoff and Tuesday's day of children's games, cowpoke. But since you're a savvy Journal reader and picked this up Wednesday morning, here's some small town Americana you can still savor:

WEDNESDAY: Hump day is the first day of the yearly Carnival which opens at noon every remaining day of Rodeo week. To be clear, we're talkin' a midway spread to rival any of the fair's in Humboldt -- stomach-churning rides, crafty games, and greasy food. You know, the works.

Also, Wednesday's Street Games on Main Street at 6 p.m. will feature kid competition, namely penny scrambles, dummy roping, stick horse races etc.

THURSDAY: Young cowboys and cowgirls in training compete in the Junior Rodeo starting at 8 a.m. at the rodeo grounds featuring dummy roping, goat tying and barrel racing. Things heat up and get wet later Thursday evening when the Fireman's Games go down on Main St. starting at 6:30 p.m.

FRIDAY: If you have no interest in Rodeo at all -- we know who a good portion of our readers are -- perhaps we can interest you in the redneck olympics that is Friday Fun Night. Starting at 6 p.m. in the rodeo grounds, the spectacle-heavy evening is highlighted, of course, by Quadiators; an ATV Mario Kart-like derby featuring riders attempting to pop balloons on competitor's helmets using whiffle ball bats. In other words, the definition of awesome -- for only $3.

Also on the Friday night’s card, lawn mower races, quad barrel racing and the ever-popular animal scramble, where farm animals are released in the arena for the kids to chase down. You catch it, it's yours.

SATURDAY: The most jam-packed day of rodeo week kicks off in the morning with a pancake breakfast in Rohner Park at 7 a.m., the annual Fortuna Rodeo 5K Run/Walk benefiting American Cancer Society at 8 a.m. and a good ol' parade on Main Street at noon.

On to the main event. The actual Fortuna Rodeo Rodeo gets under way in the rodeo grounds at 2 p.m. and features all the classic events: bull riding, saddle bronc riding, steer wrestling and calf roping, to name a few. Admission is $7/$3 for the under 12 kiddies.

Saturday night gets rowdy. At 5 p.m., fill your gut with barbecue at the Rohner Park Cook Shack, but don't gorge so much that you won't be light on your feet. At 8 p.m., the Rodeo Dance featuring country star Dave Russell and Band shakes the Fireman's Pavillion 'til it's good and shook out.

SUNDAY: The final day of goings-on features more Rodeo starting at 1:30 p.m. and more barbecue at 11 a.m. But also of note are the death-defying feats of motocross heroism by the Knievel-esque "Cowboy" Kenny Bartram during the rodeo. Lots of breath holding.

Cowboy up, Humboldt! Again, for more info, 2011 Rodeo Guides are out there and are also readable online. Or go to fortunarodeo.com. Yee-haw.

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Andrew Goff

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