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Heather Nyberg-Schlotzhauer

Beacon Correspondent

The Fortuna Rodeo Main Street Games brought riders, penny pinchers, and a lot of cracked eggs. The annual rodeo event brought out hundreds of people to participate in the fun games provided by the Rodeo Board with MC Ricky Ruud and co-event director Hec Wood.

The committee came out in full force with lots of hands on deck to reign in the many horse stick racers. Children up to age 7 could bring their own horse to ride or barrow one for the evening's festivities.

With the race flag dropped the hopping, jumping, galloping, tripping, and endless laughter began. Many watched as the flash of mane and western attire went by heading for the finish line. While others enjoyed the casual stroll of beautiful horses with their steadfast riders who enjoyed the thrill of the chase more than the race.

Blue vested heroes dropped the coveted money in the penny scramble. Little ones sat calmly on the ground in the first age group, meticulously picking up each coin and showing it to their parents. As the age groups increased so did the determination to get the mother of all loads in their coin bags.

”The Rodeo Board put out over $1,100 in pennies and $400 in gold $1 coins,” Ruud said.

With a flurry of activity, every last coin found a new home and participants readied for the egg toss.

”Containers were placed around the Eel River Valley around April to collect pennies for the Tony Johnston Penny Scramble with much of the donations coming for the Fortuna Volunteer Fire Department,” Wood said.

Surrounded by a wall of spectators, over 50 participants lined the crosswalks on the corner of Main and 11th streets in Fortuna to gracefully toss an egg at their partner. With success, teams were able to continue on taking a step backward and continue tossing to their partner. This continued until the last egg splatter.

You could see the concentration on the faces of competitors as they used many techniques to ensure their eggs' safe flight. Some with gliding underhand tosses, others with football-style throws, and many with the classic Hail Mary. No matter the technique, there was egg everywhere.

Jim and Tiffany Nielsen watched on as their three children competed against each other on separate teams. There were sibling heckling and attempts to distract. Gracie Nielsen showed true grace in her throwing technique, beating out young brother Brayden. Feeling much better, Shriners Children's Hospital patient Hunter Nielsen would not be outdone and put up a great fight to the end, but did not win the final throw.

”It was so great to see everyone out there competing,” Jim Nielsen said. “I loved watching my three kids lined up next to each other in a friendly competition laughing and horsing around.”

Ruud said the event went very well.

”We had as good of a turn out if not better,” he said. “The Fortuna Volunteer Fire Department Muster Team was on hand selling hot dogs, hamburgers, and sodas to raise money for the Team. The group sold out so the turnout was great.”

Wood said he thought the event went great.

”I love seeing how many kids come out and the feedback had been very positive,” he said. “We have had many parents come to us and say thank you for the free event.”

According to Wood, the event is funded by community donations and the Rotary Board in sponsorship with Lithia.

”We were able to have four bounce houses, face painting and events that are fun and free to the community,” Wood said.

Photo by Heather Nyberg-Schlotzhauer/Beacon

The streets were lined with participants of all ages during the annual Fortuna Rodeo Main Street Games egg toss.