News & Updates

Ellensburg (Wash.) Rodeo Board cancelled Labor Day Weekend rodeo 2020

On July 2, the Ellensburg (Wash.) Rodeo Board made the difficult decision to not hold this year’s Labor Day Weekend rodeo.

2020 presented some extremely difficult challenges and the board worked tirelessly looking at all angles possible to hold the event. In the end, the board felt there was no way to host the world-class Ellensburg Rodeo safely and responsibly.

The entire board collectively spent hundreds of hours planning for the past three months and had hoped the hard work and preparation would result in the ability to have the 97th annual rodeo.

The cancellation of the rodeo includes all events that are traditional to the Labor Day weekend, including the Division 1 Xtreme Bulls event, parade and concert.

Since 1923, the only other time the Ellensburg Rodeo was cancelled was from 1942-1944 due to World War II.

The board of directors determined that the requirements to keep the community and spectators safe while balancing the need to meet all requirements and directives became increasingly difficult given the changing and emerging facts. The board was working directly with the Kittitas County Health Officer, State Representatives, Kittitas County Commissioners, Kittitas County Chamber of Commerce and numerous other partners prior to this decision.

“This was going to be a very special year with the Ellensburg Rodeo being inducted into the ProRodeo Hall of Fame, but the safety of our community is our priority and with the current risks associated with the COVID-19 our decision not to move forward was the right decision,” said Jerry Doolin, President of the Ellensburg Rodeo. “We also understand that this decision will financially impact our entire community, which is why we will be giving any donations we collect directly to the volunteer organizations that help us make the Labor Day experience memorable.”

Details on the refund and donation program will be announced in the coming days. We want to thank the entire community, fans, sponsors, Gold Buckle Members, Top Hands, Ellensburg Rodeo Posse, and all our dedicated volunteers who have given so much time to this historical event. Even though we will not be celebrating our 97th year in person, we will be celebrating our rich history through donations and community service.

Planning for 2021 will start immediately and we will Watch Em’ Buck again next Labor Day Weekend.

Courtesy of