New centennial account of the Fortuna Rodeo celebrates its history and impact on the community

New centennial account of the Fortuna Rodeo celebrates its history and impact on the community

Susan J.P. O’Hara and Alex Service announce publication of ‘In and Around the Arena’

Susan J.P. O’Hara and Alex Service survey the growth and changes in both the Fortuna Rodeo and the town of Fortuna, California, over the past 100 years in their new book “In and Around the Arena: The 100-Year History of the Fortuna Rodeo” (published by Archway Publishing). The book itself is dedicated to the board and rodeo participants over the years.

From the Fortuna Rodeo’s origins in 1921 up to the present day, the rodeo has been a mainstay of Fortuna. Aside from 2020, the rodeo has not had a cancelation since the end of World War II. In addition to the rodeo itself, “In and Around the Arena” also discusses the history and growth of Fortuna over the past century. The book is packed with photographs and lore of the region surrounding the small California town in Humboldt County, California.

Hundreds of photographs from the collections of community members, local museums, universities, and the National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum illustrate the text. Among the many never-before-published images is a photograph from the collection of the Rodoni family showing the 1961 Fortuna Rodeo’s salute to “old cowboys” who had ridden in the rodeos of the 1920s. The book also features images created by Fortuna photographer Rudy Gillard, a rodeo board member and official photographer of the Fortuna Rodeo, between 1955 and 1981.

“We want readers to take away an appreciation for living in a small community and for how people working together have been able to create this event and maintain its operation for the past 10 decades” O’Hara and Service say.

“In and Around the Arena” is available for purchase online at the Archway link above, from Barnes & Noble and on Amazon at:

“In and Around the Arena”
By Susan J.P. O’Hara and Alex Service
Hardcover | 6 x 9 in | 914 pages | ISBN 9781665708418
Softcover | 6 x 9 in | 914 pages | ISBN 9781665708432
E-Book | 914 pages | ISBN 9781665708425
Available at Amazon and Barnes & Noble

About the Author
Susan O’Hara and Alex Service have collaborated on several writing projects on the history of Humboldt County, California. Service is curator of the Fortuna Depot Museum and earned her doctorate in medieval studies from the University of York in England. O’Hara earned a master’s in history from U. C. Santa Barbara and is a teacher in Southern Humboldt County. Funds raised through the sale of this book will benefit the Fortuna Depot Museum. Established in 1976 as the City of Fortuna’s U.S. Bicentennial project, the museum’s mission is to preserve and interpret the history of the Eel River Valley.

Simon & Schuster, a company with nearly ninety years of publishing experience, has teamed up with Author Solutions, LLC, the worldwide leader in self-publishing, to create Archway Publishing. With unique resources to support books of all kind, Archway Publishing offers a specialized approach to help every author reach his or her desired audience. For more information, visit or call 844-669-3957.


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