It would be hard to find a more inclusive club than the Pahrump Valley Rough Riders.
Age is no barrier, gender is no barrier, and you don’t even have to ride horses. For evidence, look no further than Rough Riders President Loyce Seastrunk.
“I don’t even ride a horse,” said Seastrunk, who said he has been involved with the club for almost a decade and its president for almost half of that time. “My daughters ride and got us into it, but I’m a chicken. I’m good with a car, wheels and a motor. They like the horses.”
The Rough Riders put on 10 shows a year from February to November. The June show will be at 7 p.m. Saturday, June 16, at McCullough Arena in Pahrump. There is no admission charge for spectators.
“They will see barrel racing, pole bending, which is six poles evenly spaced and they zig-zag through them, and keyhole — all speed events,” Seastrunk explained. “You’ll see kids getting walked on big horses, small horses, ponies. You’ll have adults that ride on their own. All the kids help set up the events, and you’ll see whole families get together, hanging out, cooking dinner. It’s kind of a family atmosphere.”
The setting might be casual, but there is competition. In fact, the quality of prizes available to members who perform well throughout the season is one of the club’s points of pride.
“There are very good prizes for a local club,” Seastrunk said. “Everybody that’s in the club is pretty happy with the prizes that we get. All the money that comes into the club, every bit of it besides expenses, goes back into prizes at the end of the year. Nobody gets paid. Everything goes back to prize money.
“The officers work pretty hard at making the prizes more toward the individual so you’re not getting the same prizes every year. Some people would say it’s too much work, but the officers take pride in giving out the best possible prizes at the end of the year.”
Members must ride in at least eight shows to be eligible for prizes.
“It’s a night show, so we do barrels, poles and keyhole,” Seastrunk said. “During the day shows we have four events, and those are the first three months and last two months of the year. We run from February until November, and in the summer months, when it’s warmer, we do night shows.
“We don’t get a lot of spectators, but we do get some spectators who have never seen a horse before. Because it’s free to come and hang out, somebody that’s never been around the horses can come and go. It’s welcome to everybody.”
The same goes for membership in the club. Seastrunk said a single membership is $30 and a family membership is $50, with a $20 fee to ride in a show.
“So it’s not as expensive as some of the organizations that use cattle, because we’re just on horses,” he said. “Some of the bigger rodeo stuff does get expensive, but we’re more of a local club, and we try to keep it cheap and fun so everybody can do it.”
Everybody includes the very young and the very old, who are both welcome in the Rough Riders.
“We have a 4-year-old,” Seastrunk said. “When he was like a year old they had him on a saddle, and grandma and mom were walking him on a little pony.
“Our oldest person right now is mid-60s, but we’ve had in the past someone who was riding at 82, and he rode ever since he was a kid.”
Fundraising and sponsorships are vital to the success of the Rough Riders.
“We have a lot of sponsors here in town that sponsor the club, and they help out quite a bit,” Seastrunk said. “Like any club, getting member participation can be tough. But for the most part, anybody who goes out and tries to get sponsorship, Pahrump is pretty good about supporting the club. I think that’s pretty much with any club out here. You go to a business or a person, our community sponsors and supports our local clubs pretty well.”
Contact Sports Editor Tom Rysinski at firstname.lastname@example.org On Twitter:@pvtimes