Railroad to rodeo
How abandoned line became the Woodchoppers home
June 13, 2018
While the Woodchoppers’ Jamboree and Rodeo is entering its 58th year, it was only in the last few decades that it had the fortune of calling the Encampment/Riverside Lions Club Arena home. As many longtime Valley residents will remember, the arena was once home to the stockyards for the Saratoga-Cow Creek rail line. In 1975, Union Pacific (UP)announced that they were abandoning the line and, in 1976, held a number of public meetings to explain the process of abandonment.
Thanks to efforts by Lloyd Aden and his committee as well as the Encampment/Riverside and Saratoga Lions Clubs, UP made the decision to deed the stockyards for the Saratoga-Cow Creek line located in Encampment to the Encampment/Riverside Lions Club. The stockyards would soon become home to the Jamboree and many other community events.
Meanwhile, the Saratoga Lions Club obtained the ties from the line which were sold for $50,000 and used to established a scholarship fund that is still in use today. It is thanks to Aden, the two Lions Clubs, as well as local ranchers, lumbermen, businesses and editorial support of the Saratoga Sun that the Woodchoppers’ Jamboree and Rodeo has been able to call the Encampment/Riverside Lions Club Arena home.
The 58th Annual Woodchoppers’ Jamboree and Rodeo begins at 9 a.m. on Saturday, June 16 with a parade followed by woodchopping events at 10 a.m. and a Wyoming Rodeo Association (WRA) Rodeo at 1:30 p.m. Woodchopping events will resume at 9 a.m. on Sunday, June 17 with another WRA Rodeo at 1:30 p.m. Price of admission for all events is $10 per day, children under 12 are free.