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Basin City Freedom Rodeo steeped in tradition, community, rural life, family, & freedom

Updated: Aug 10, 2022

The Basin City Freedom Rodeo, held Fri. and Sat., June 17-18 drew quite a crowd this year. The rodeo, now in its third year, continues to grow and expand and has received quite a following. From its humble beginnings in 2020, during a time of uncertainty due to the pandemic, to the new arena that many donations built last year, it continues to get better and better. In 2020 and still today, many outstanding citizens of our community continue to come together to stand up for our freedoms. In doing so, the Basin City Freedom Rodeo was born. The western heritage has deep roots in this area of Washington. We are surrounded by acres of rich irrigated farm land, orchards, and vineyards. Basin City, an unincorporated town, is small, but the community is remarkable.

Old timers put up the first rodeo arena many years ago. It was used for several years and then left to go to weeds until the community revived it. Organizers said, “We wouldn’t have been able to grow and improve our rodeo grounds this quickly had it not been for the generous donations of The Bailie Memorial Youth Foundation.” It all started many years ago when Loen Bailie had a vision. He saw opportunities to help our community, more specifically, children. He and his wife, Estella had been unable to have children of their own, so in 1958, Loen formed the Bailie Memorial Boys Ranch, which was later changed to Bailie Memorial Youth Ranch. Currently, it is being used to house foster families. Over the years, they have helped children and families that number too many to count. The Bailie Memorial Youth Foundation was formed to keep Loen’s legacy going. He knew the importance of community. He donated property for churches, the local school, the park, and the ground this rodeo sits on. In 2021, the Bailie Memorial Youth Foundation donated $150,000 to build an entirely new arena and continues to support our rodeo grounds improvements each year. During Saturday night’s rodeo there was a special tribute to the Bailie family.

As the community gathered, at the new rodeo arena grounds, you could sense the excitement and anticipation. While the weather cooperated, mostly, rain did fall during the latter half of the rodeo Sat. night.

The new PRCA experience brought in some outstanding professional talent and drew an even bigger crowd. While still keeping things grounded to the community that supported and started it all, organizers continued the tradition of mutton bustin’ and wild cow milkin’ contests with local youth featured in both categories. The wild cows were definitely wild. Lending to some injuries on both nights. But nothing too serious, if you call a concussion and dislocated shoulders nothing serious. Carson Riner, of Spokane - with roots in Basin City, took Saturday’s mutton bustin’ competition with a whopping 88 points!

Tricia Freeman shared about the winners of the wild cow milk’n from Friday nights show and the Basin City Rodeo traditions, “A long time ago, in this very arena these two cousins’ dads milked a wild cow and were successful with the win. The rodeo used to be called Pioneer Days and belt buckles were the prize for a 1st place finish. 30 years later, after dusting off the cases, the next generation is sporting some Basin City Rodeo goods.”

“The Basin City Freedom Rodeo put on a great show once again. Since its beginning in 2020, this event has been one to remember! I love being able to talk to the fans sitting on the grass, and watch the beautiful sunsets from the arena. Thank you Basin City for having me at your rodeo once again. I even got to bring my family and my horse, Rooster, to the rodeo with me. It’s always nice to have them by my side.”

Donna Heinen, who joined in on Friday’s slack time said, “I’m not one to enter rodeos, but 10 minutes from the house is hard to pass up. My horse struggled a bit in the deep ground, but it was a fun morning and he worked great! Now to get a shoe replaced and get back at it. “HonkyTonk” is going to have a great season. Basin City Freedom Rodeo, my hat is off to each and everyone of you! Outstanding job with all you have accomplished! Thank you so much!!”

Contestants, announcers, the rodeo clown, vendors, and more joined in the sentiment of appreciation for a great show and time in Basin City.

The events concluded with a fireworks display. While the PRCA had not yet posted the final results, the rodeo was a big success.

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