The Chief Joseph Days Rodeo in the evenings is world-class rodeo. But don’t miss the other events during the day, which are just as much fun. And even better, most are free!

• Tuesday, Bucking Horse Stampede down Main Street in Joseph. 1:30 p.m. Starts at the south end of town, and proceeds to rodeo grounds, mostly at a fast walk or leisurely trot. Great place to watch some magnificent horseflesh.

• Wednesday: Little Buckaroos Rodeo: Harley Tucker Arena 9 a.m. Special events for special needs children. Lots of fun and smiles all around. Free.

• Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, and Saturday: Slack rodeo, 2:00 p.m. (2:30 on Saturday) Harley Tucker Arena. Free. This is not a rodeo for slackers. It’s a rodeo for all the riders, ropers, bull-doggers and other rodeo athletes who couldn’t fit into the limited slots for evening performances. It’s not uncommon that the overall winner of an event performs in slack, and has a better time than any of the evening performers. You get to watch world-class rodeo for free—without the distractions of special acts, rodeo clowns, and rodeo courts.

• Friday, Kiddie parade, 10 a.m. Charming, fun, and shorter than the big Saturday parade, you can watch floats created by kids, kazoo bands, the 4-H fair queens, and a variety of dogs, chickens, and other things take their turn on Main Street. And of course kids.

• Saturday: Friendship Feast and Indian Dance Competition. Noon to about 4 p.m. at the Indian Pavilion just east of Harley Tucker Arena. To honor Chief Joseph and the Wallowa Band Nez Perce who are native to this landscape, descendants of Chief Joseph’s people combine with local residents to host a feast of salmon and potluck dishes that is free and welcome to all. You’ll learn and participate in Nez Perce blessings and traditions, and also have a wonderful meal; the meal is followed by competitive dancing, including Men’s traditional and fancy dance.

The Rodeo specialty act:

Every year Chief Joseph Days Rodeo presents a thrilling specialty act at the Friday and Saturday evening rodeo. This year’s act is unusual in that it doesn’t really involve horses, or even dogs. This year, Troy Lerwill will present a Wrangler National Finals’ Rodeo award-winning favorite: His Wild Child motorcycle specialty act.

Lerwill has won multiple rodeo honors for his motorcycle-riding, laugh –generating, and death-defying act, which includes jumping a truck and very long horse trailer in the air. (Flames are also involved…). He works as many as 170 performances in a year, including the majority of the largest rodeos in the United States and Canada.

A native of Utah, Lerwill comes from a family that was thoroughly involved in rodeo. His father was a team roper. His mother was a rodeo queen. But as a youngster, Lerwill was more interested in pestering the clowns, watching the bullfighters and riding motorcycles instead of horses. He began racing motorcycles in his early teens. He won the Utah state motocross championship at the age of 16, and also successfully raced mountain bikes for several years.

Lerwill has combined his extraordinary motorcycle riding talent with his career as a rodeo entertainer to develop an act that is considered both outstanding and unique.

“I told myself that, somehow, it had to be possible to jump a Dodge pickup truck and a Bloomer trailer with my dirt bike,” he said.

Lerwill names, as his mentor, pro rodeo’s master comedian Lecile Harris — four-time PRCA Clown of the year who has also performed at CJD in the past.

But Lerwill’s rodeo DNA shows through in his other jobs at Chief Joseph Days. He will be the official “rodeo clown” which also means being the man in the barrel when the bulls come out to play. He’s won awards for his talents here too. He has been named Professional Rodeo Cowboy Association entertainer of the year — as well as clown of the year and Coors-Man-in the Can of the year.

So be ready to be thoroughly entertained at the rodeo-equivalent of a half-time show. And keep your eyes on the barrel when the bulls come out, too.

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