President’s Message

Fortuna Rodeo Association 

103 – Celebrating America, the Land of the Free

Greetings Rodeo fans!! This year marks the 103rd annual Fortuna Rodeo. What began as an annual picnic held by the Stockman’s Association, a group formed to help, protect and promote local cattlemen back in 1916, turned into what is now the annual Fortuna Rodeo. The Rodeo had its first inaugural event in 1921. This event has deep history in Fortuna and the county of Humboldt which is thoroughly described in the 100th Anniversary Fortuna Rodeo book, In and Around the Arena, authored by Susan J. P. O’Hara and Alex Service. Pick up your copy to learn more at the Rodeo!

The Rodeo Board of Directors dedicated this year’s rodeo theme to American patriotism deeming it as 103 Celebrating America, the Land of the Free, to remind people of what this country was founded upon. No matter the challenges we face, we cannot forget how we began and the reason why we are the land of the free.  To celebrate the meaning of this theme, the 103rd Rodeo will consist of 9 days of fun and laughter to forget about what is happening in the world while making great memories with friends and family. As in the past, there are events for everyone from the family friendly carnival, the annual Chamber Chili Cookoff, Rodeo events, to BFO, and everything in between!

This year, the Rodeo Board selected Doug and Marilyn Strehl as its Grand Marshalls because the Strehls have always been in the forefront of promoting Fortuna and volunteering in many, many ways. Doug served on the Planning Commission, City Council and Marilyn has sat on the Rohnerville School Board for decades. They were both instrumental in starting up the Fortuna Downtown Business Association and are still involved today. They own and operate Strehl’s Family Shoes in Downtown Fortuna. Fortuna runs in their blood so is fitting that they are the Grand Marshalls this year!  They unequivocally deserved to be selected for this.

To showcase the theme Celebrating America, the Land of the Free, talented oil painter, Erica Brooks painted a cowgirl tipping her hat to the American Flag. Working with her was a wonderful experience and we couldn’t be more thrilled with this beautiful piece of art. Meet Erica and check out the poster art here. As usual, the painting will be auctioned off to the highest bidder during the Saturday afternoon rodeo performance, so come on down and bid on this one-of-a-kind tribute to the Land of the Free!

We would like to remind attendees that we will be enforcing the clear bag policy (here), so be sure to adhere to this requirement. Tickets to the events can be purchased online here, and you can find the schedule of events and learn what to expect at this year’s Rodeo here. Additionally, due to safety issues, there will be no BFO VIP tickets sold this year. 

The Rodeo Board would like to extend a sincere thank you to all our generous sponsors and dedicated volunteers who help put on this event, both past and present. If you would like to be a sponsor, reach out to Ben at Sequoia/Blue Star Gas and any volunteers interested in supporting this year can reach out to Kristin at the Fortuna Chamber of Commerce. All our sponsors and volunteers make the Rodeo the great and fun event that it is! 

Hats can be purchased at Sport & Cycle, Fortuna ACE Hardware, Sequoia/Blue Star Gas, The Fortuna Farmhouse, Green’s Pharmacy and on the Rodeo grounds during Rodeo. Rodeo sweatshirts are being sold at Wild Cactus Clothing.

In closing – hope to see you and your family during rodeo week. Fortuna Rodeo 103, Celebrating America, the Land of the Free!

Happy trials,

Shannon McWhorter