Lots of saddles clubs and rodeos have come and gone.
For more than four decades, the Burlingame Saddle Club has been going strong, hosting a rodeo every year, and activity continues with enthusiasm like day one.
“It’ll be the 42nd annual Santa Fe Trail Rodeo this weekend, Friday and Saturday evenings, at our original grounds on the west edge of Burlingame,” said Paul Lang, club charter-member who remains instrumental in today’s success.
“There have been plenty of changes, but our objective has remained the same to have horse activities for kids and families,” chimed John Pickett, sweeping the clubhouse floor as he remembered signing the charter.
“Several generations of original families are still active in the club,” inserted David Prescott, this year’s vice president whose children are the third generation.
Kenny Miles is a second generation club member, and his grandchildren are fourth generation. Following in boot-steps of his father (Lewis), Kenny and his wife, Sharon, have served several club offices and limitless committees.
“We’ve had so many activities, it’s hard to list them,” Miles noted.
“But, we’ve really had countless good times and made lifetime memories and friends,” Sharon emphasized.
“Our rodeo is the biggest project every year, and as expenses keep increasing, we have a challenge to keep it going,” explained Pat Rusher, club secretary.
“Because of all the dedicated members we’re able to continue while other groups and events go to the wayside,” Rusher analyzed.
These six hardworking Burlingame Saddle Club members gathered Friday evening, one week ahead of the first performance for the 42nd annual rodeo, reminiscing history and looking forward.
There was no shortage of “remember whens” as the congenial neighborly club members-friends recalled with grins and out-loud-laughs all of the delightful times. “The fun outweighs the work,” Sharon insisted.
Yes, older and as-successful saddle clubs and rodeos continue, too, but it’s doubtful one could find a group with any more family longevity, jovial-enthusiasm, and optimism than that of the Burlingame Saddle Club.
“What makes us so unique is that we all get along. Not that we’ve haven’t had some disagreements from time to time, but we all have the same general-goals in mind and work together to see them to the end,” emphasized Prescott.
“We chartered in 1969 and had our first rodeo in 1970, I think. It’s all in the records someplace, but I really can’t remember the exact details after all this time,” Lang admitted.
“Twenty charter members, mostly families, are listed on the charter, and I counted that all but six are still alive and generally interested in the club one way or another,” Pickett calculated.
Although not elected-officers now, both Lang and Pickett have served as president and rotated back and forth in several other executive positions over the years. “When you’re as old as we are, you’ve about done it all sometime or other,” admitted Lang, still a board member.
Tim Quaney is club president, Teresa Sly, treasurer, and other directors are Virgil Schied, Brent Hittle and Al Bunting. “They’ve also served in a number of other capacities through the years,” Pickett credited.
Today, membership stands at about 25, with the peak never being more than a dozen more. “We have ten honorary members, who’ve helped us for so many years and continue today. They’re admitted to all activities without charge,” Rusher recognized.
“That’s what’s kept us going; people doing things for nothing and support from so many,” Prescott acknowledged.
Weekly summer fun nights were a highlight of club activities for many years, as have been regularly scheduled trail rides, which continue today, related Miles, who’s been involved in nearly every club function since childhood.
“Our annual open youth rodeo is August 25, this year,” Sharon inserted.
“We’ve had weekly team roping, ranch rodeos, team penning, sanctioned junior rodeos, horse shows, hayrack rides. You about name it with horses, and we’ve done it,” said Miles.
While not every member has a horse today, most do and many ride regularly, while all have had horses in the past, and anything to do with horses remains close to their hearts.
Standard rodeo events are on tap for this weekend’s United Rodeo Association-sanctioned competition, at 8 o’clock each evening, with wild steer mugging and kids calf scramble as added features.
“C.R. McKellips Rodeo Company is its ninth return-engagement as contractor. He’s really been good to work with us,” Rusher noted.
A parade is set for 1 o’clock Saturday.
“Times have changed. There are so many things for families to do that weren’t around when we were growing up,” Sharon Miles evaluated the club and its future. “Horses are important to help keep families and communities working together.”
“It’s not all that easy to carry on, but our objective is to continue for 50 years and beyond with the same families involved,” Prescott summarized.
Heritage runs as deep as enthusiasm when these Burlingame Saddle Club members review plans for the 42nd annual Santa Fe Trail Rodeo they’re hosting this Friday and Saturday evenings at Burlingame. Included are Paul Lang, Sharon Miles, Kenny Miles, Pat Rusher, David Prescott and John Pickett.