In just a few days, the horse trailers and motorhomes and RVs will begin rolling into the Owens Valley once more.
Only this time, they’re not bringing mules and mule owners from around the country; no, this caravan is reserved for the California High School Rodeo Association State Finals, returning to Bishop for the 10th consecutive year.
Bishop will play host to the 2014 finals and approximately 300 contestants and their friends and family from Sunday, June 8 through Saturday, June 14. Actual rodeo action takes place Tuesday, June 10 through Friday, June 13 as teenagers from across nine districts in California vie for the chance to advance to the national finals in Rock Springs, Wyo. July 13-19.
During the six days the athletes and their families are in Bishop, not only will the national finalists be decided, but a state rodeo queen for 2014-15 will be crowned, local residents will be able to cheer on hometown competitors and, behind the scenes, an army of volunteers will be working to ensure the entire event goes off without a hitch. Pun not intended.
Integral to organizers’ efforts at staging a successful event is the community itself, according to Bishop Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Tawni Thomson.
“It really is a community-wide effort,” she said.
That effort begins many months in advance, when the Chamber – as co-host of the state finals along with the Eastern Sierra Tri-County Fairgrounds – begins lining up donors, contributors and volunteers to fulfill its obligations of the contract with the CHRSA.
That contract, which expires in 2017, requires the Chamber to provide lodging for the rodeo judges, announcers and timers; goody bags for contestants; a welcome dinner for the youth and their families; and security at the arena gates.
According to Thomson, local business owners are happy to help, donating what they can and discounting the rest. Thomson said she figures about half of what the Chamber needs to fulfill its contract Locally, residents approved Measure 41, the Veterans Housing and Homeless Bond Act, with 59.67 percent of the voters voting yes. Measure 42, the Public Records, Open Meetings, Reimbursements Act, was defeated by Inyo citizens, with 53.05 percent of the voters shooting it down.
Statewide, 65.4 percent of the voters approved Measure 41, and Measure 42 was approved, with 61.5 percent of state constituents voting for approval.
In the race for Secretary of State, Republican Pete Peterson took the local vote, with 33.86 percent. Statewide, Democrat Alex Padilla took first, with 30.1 percent of the vote. Peterson was a close second, with 29.6 percent of the state voting his way. Padilla and Peterson are now in a runoff in November.
Inyo County favored Republican David Evans for the position of State Controller, with a third of the voters casting ballots in his favor. Statewide, Republican Ashley Swearengin took the top spot, earning 24.4 percent of the vote. John Pérez, Democrat, came in second with 21.7 percent, followed closely by Evans with 21.6 percent and Democrat Betty Yee with 21.5. Swearengin and Pérez will advance to the November General Election.
In the State Treasurer race, Inyo favored Republican Greg Conlon, who received 47.83 percent of the vote. Statewide, voters elected Democrat John Chiang with 55.1 percent of the vote.
In the race for Attorney General, Inyo voters backed Kamala D. Harris, with 40.04 percent of the vote. Statewide, Harris, a Democrat, came out on top and won re-election with 53.1 percent of the vote.
In the race for state Insurance Commissioner, 51.44 percent of Inyo voters favored Republican Ted Gains. Statewide, 53.1 percent of the vote, and the victory, went to Democrat Dave Jones.
And finally, in the race for District 1 of the Board of Equalization, nearly 60 percent of Inyo’s voters favored Republican George Runner over Democrat Chris Parker. District-wide, Runner took 59.7 percent of the vote and his seat on the BOE.
For a full breakdown of statewide election results, visit http://vote.sos.ca.gov/ .