VALE – Jim Mendiola is back in the Vale 4th of July Rodeo saddle.
The longtime local resident and 1982 Vale High School graduate is no stranger to the rodeo or the rodeo board that spearheads the renowned local event every year.
Mendiola was rodeo board president between 2008 and 2010, then again between 2015 and 2017. His latest tenure as rodeo board president began in 2022.
Meanwhile, Mendiola also operates his own rock and gravel business and is a Malheur County commissioner.
Mendiola said he enjoys being on the rodeo board and the rodeo.
“You got to love it,” he said.
Mendiola said the rodeo is more than just another cowboy-oriented event. He sees it as much like a big class reunion and barbecue stretched over the nation’s birthday week.
“It’s kind of a good-time family reunion,” he said.
Rodeo, Mendiola said, is “good, clean, local fun.”
“You know you can’t hardly do anything nowadays for less than 50 bucks for a family. At the rodeo you can get four or five people in for 60 bucks,” he said. “It’s really awesome.”
Mendiola’s role as president consists of coordinating the work of the fair board throughout the year as it prepares for the next Vale 4th of July Rodeo.
Before the rodeo starts, the board and Mendiola put in nine months of preparatory work, including maintaining the rodeo grounds. As the rodeo nears, Mendiola is busy taking care of a long list of details.
“I keep the herd going. I make arrangement for portable toilets, with the beer guy, the announcer and what we need to do for maintenance,” he said
Mendiola said the rodeo gate proceeds usually range from $45,000 to $50,000 each year but the number of people who attend always “depends on the weather.”
The rodeo, he said, attracts a wide variety of people.
“We bring in a lot of people, get calls all the time. In the Boise, Nampa and Caldwell area there are a lot of people who used to go to the rodeo when they were younger but don’t live in Vale or Ontario anymore, so they come over because they know it’s good family fun,” said Mendiola.
Mendiola has been involved with the Vale 4th of July Rodeo since 1986 when he joined the board at the age of 22.
The rodeo, he said, is successful each year because a large number of local people and the rodeo board pitch in.
“A lot of dedicated people volunteer for a good cause and make it good,” said Mendiola.
News tip? Contact reporter Pat Caldwell at [email protected]
HOW TO SUBSCRIBE – The Malheur Enterprise delivers quality local journalism – fair and accurate. You can read it any hour, any day with a digital subscription. Read it on your phone, your Tablet, your home computer. Click subscribe – $7.50 a month.