The annual Billy Evins roping event will kick off this weekend at the Vale rodeo grounds. (The Enterprise/File).

VALE – Local rodeo competitors get a chance to qualify for the Vale 4th of July Rodeo at the annual Billy Evins Memorial team roping event scheduled for Friday and Saturday.

A local staple at the rodeo grounds since at least 1986, the event is named in honor of a popular local rodeo supporter. Evins’ son, Craig, said the event began as an informal affair but eventually evolved into a qualifying event for the July 4 rodeo for area ropers and barrel racers.

The Evins family organizes the event while the Vale 4th of July Rodeo Board sponsors it.

“It’s my way to give back to the community,” said Evins.

The event begins Friday at 6 p.m. with a practice roping session that is open to anyone.

Saturday, roping and barrel racing competition begins at 10 a.m. and is the qualifying round for locals for the Vale 4th of July Rodeo. The Saturday round is open only to Malheur County residents, landowners or anyone who graduated from a Malheur County high school.

The roping competition begins right after barrel racing Saturday. Competitors register at the event.

Barrel racing participants compete in five age groups: 6-8, 9-10, 11-13, 14-18 and open category. The top finishers in each age group compete at the Vale rodeo.

In the team roping competition, each team draws three steers. Members of the top 24 teams qualify to rope in the rodeo and receive a hat. Roping winners receive a jacket.

“It is quite a tradition,” said Jim Mendiola, a member of the Vale 4th of July Rodeo Board.

The fee to compete in barrel racing is $10 while ropers can participate for $25.

Evins said between 90 and 130 people usually show up to compete.

For more information, contact Evins at 541-212-6230.

News tip? Contact reporter Pat Caldwell at [email protected]

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