The Caldwell Night Rodeo started as a gymkhana and bucking contest in 1924 as a means to raise funds to build and equip an up-to-date riding hall and armory for the 116th Idaho National Guard cavalry unit stationed in Caldwell. In 1935 lights were hung and SW Idaho’s first night rodeo and one of the state’s biggest events took place. Today, Caldwell Night Rodeo brings in around 40,000 spectators in just 5 nights of adrenaline-packed rodeo action.
Known as the rodeo “Where the Cowboys are the Stars”, our motto is much more than just a catchy tagline. To us, it’s a reminder of where we were, how far we’ve come, and where our focus should be in the future. In 1965, Caldwell Night Rodeo went bankrupt. In those years, it was standard that a rodeo featured a headliner. Ours that year was Patty Paige. Rodeo week that year featured rare torrential downpour after downpour. Our stands were empty, board directors had to hold a tarp over Miss Paige’s head while she sang “Little Doggie in the Window” and she left with her paycheck. She was the only bill we were able to pay that year. We vowed then that Caldwell Night Rodeo would be back, but it would forever be the rodeo where the cowboys (and cowgirls) were the only stars we featured.
The accomplishment Caldwell Night Rodeo is most proud of is the money we are able to continue circulating into the very valley we call home. Every year we donate money back into the community through scholarships from our sister foundation, Caldwell Western Heritage Foundation. Be it several animal purchases at the county fair from local youth in FFA and 4-h, sponsoring 3-4 local non-profits to be the beneficiaries of our holiday fundraiser, or countless efforts that go on throughout the year to benefit our Power of Pink & Patriot Funds. Community outreach is a focus of ours year-round and it’s a big reason why we only allow service clubs into our rodeo grounds as food vendors. For many, the profit from those 5 nights is what sustains them all year long.
While we are the rodeo where the cowboys are the stars, we are also the rodeo with the best fans in the industry. Whether you are a part of the Rowdie vs. Civil rivalry, you prefer our roping chute side or you fancy a cold beverage amongst 2,000 of your new-found friends near our beer garden… they don’t come any greater than you. From record-breaking waves, eardrum numbing cheers, rodeo knowledge, and over-all love for the sport.. we are the luckiest around.
If you find yourself in SW Idaho during the latter half of August, we hope you’ll join us for up-close rodeo action under the hot August night’s sky with the best athletes this sport has to offer, the greatest fans in rodeo, and the occasional interruption of a train passing through town behind us.