Bob Dressel named Colorado River Round Up Rodeo Grand Marshal

March 19, 2019

NEEDLES — Bob Dressel, a former Needles Chamber of Commerce President, Colorado River Round Up Chairman and one of the last of the group that built and paid for the rodeo grounds at their current location along San Clemente at Clary, has been named grand marshal of this year’s rodeo.

Colorado River Medical Center presents the 43rd Colorado River Round Up Rodeo on April 5 and 6. Advance tickets will be available at The Rodeo Store manned by the Needles Rodeo Association from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. April 1 through 4 at 800 W. Broadway, Suite A.

Dressel now makes his home in Texas. It took some persuading to get him to come back to Needles on that weekend, largely because he now does an antique show in Texas during the same time period. “They’ve asked me about 10 times,” he said in a telephone interview. “I’ve always said I can’t. But this year I finally weakened. I’m 82 and I might be dead next year,” he added with a chuckle. “We’ll be there.”

Dressel and his wife, Paula, have hired some people to do the antique show and plan to be in Needles from April 3 through the rodeo performances on Friday and Saturday nights.

Dressel bought the Travel Lodge Motel on Needles Highway in 1963 and built the Hungry Bear Restaurant there in 1967; originally leasing the eatery then running himself from 1978 to 1994. He served as chamber president in 1983 and as rodeo chairman around that same time. He remembered the rodeo’s origins.

“Bob Browder was the instigator to start with,” Dressel said. “He was a roper and that’s how it started. I kind of pooh-poohed the whole thing, like the normal Needles attitude.

“After the first year or so we saw it did work. The rodeo was downtown then, where the chamber is now. That empty field there.”

After a couple of years the rodeo grounds moved to its current location up on the hill, he said. He and others undertook building the fence and putting up grandstands and other accoutrements of the facility. “It was a team effort,” he recalled.

The two-day round up features a full roster of rodeo events in each evening’s performance, plus an assortment of ancillary events, including the Needles Marina Resort’s Li’l Wrangler Rodeo, Debbie’s Dispensaries’ horseshoe and cornhole tournaments, and the association’s junior barrel racing competition during the day on Saturday. Each evening performance is followed by the Fort Mojave Indian Tribe’s rodeo dance which is included in the price of an entry ticket. Popular Kingman band LittleTown plays their mix of country and rock live both nights.

Proceeds from the Needles Rodeo are donated back to the Tri-state community. Learn more at www.needlesrodeo.com or Facebook @ Colorado River Round Up; call Judy Thornton at 760-333-5255 or send email to needlesrodeo@outlook.com.

Vendor registration and information is available now. Call Cory Payne at 760-267-5455.