It’s easy to imagine the children of days past racing horses bareback across the forest-fringed meadows of Weippe.

It won’t be a vision but reality Saturday and Sunday at the Wild Weippe Rodeo which will feature the EhCapa Bareback Riders of the Treasure Valley. The riders, ranging in age from 8 to 19, do not use bits or bridles, but control their horses with leg cues, voice commands and a one-inch wide leather strap around the horse’s neck called a tack rein. Even the tack rein is removed for some routines.

“It’s a real phenomenal thing to see young people do that,” says Carolyn Lage, Weippe rodeo organizer and a former Timberline High School teacher.

The Nampa-based riders performed at Weippe’s 50th annual rodeo last year for the first time, says Lage. The club travels around the west each summer.

Riders develop a deep bond with their horses, Lage says. Routines include pinwheels and group jumps. EhCapa’s Queen Ecko Laursen performs with Durango, a horse she bought two years ago at a BLM Wild Horse Auction. She trained the four-year-old mustang gelding herself.

The EhCapa Bareback Riders formed in 1956 as an inexpensive way for children to ride horses, according to its Website. The style is similar to the way American Indians rode and EhCapa members often paint their horses and dress in the style of American Indians in hopes of honoring that tradition. EhCapa is Apache spelled backward.

Rodeo events begin with a parade at noon Saturday. Entries will be taken until the start of the parade. Categories include ATV’s, horses, antique tractors, logging trucks and visiting royalty. The Weippe Rodeo Queen is Elizabeth Salzman of Orofino and the parade's Grand Marshalls are Don and Glen Erickson. Line up is at the Empire Lumber Mill on Main Street.

The rodeo is 2-5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday at the Weippe Rodeo Grounds on Musselshell Road. Besides performances by the EhCapa riders both days, Saturday will include a Calf Scramble, Calf Riding and Stick Horse Races for children.

Sunday will feature rodeo cowboys competing in the Idaho Cowboys Association and Pro-West approved rodeo. Events start with an all you can eat breakfast from 7 to 11 a.m. at the rodeo grounds.

Parade entries can by made in advance by calling Lage at  (208) 435-4845.

What: 51st Wild Weippe Rodeo When: Saturday and Sunday Cost: $7 adults, $3 children age 7 and up, under 7 free Of Note: The rodeo features covered grand stands, an alcohol free section, concessions and free parking. Prices are reduced for seniors for Sunday’s performance.

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