Two events that are always on residents' calendars will change their dates in 2016 from the ones people have traditionally come to expect.

Cedaredge High School will host its graduation for the class of 2016 two weeks earlier than usual. Graduating CHS seniors will receive their diplomas this year at the school's commencement on May 15, a Sunday, beginning at 4 p.m.

And the Western Slope Little Britches Rodeo is moving from its traditional July date to Memorial Day weekend this year.

The National Little Britches Rodeo Association (NLBRA) has changed the dates and location of its national finals, and that change means that the local Western Slope Little Britches Rodeo will be moved up from its traditional July date to the weekend of May 28-30, according to the Cedaredge Festival Committee, stagers of the rodeo event.

The new date is an opportunity for organizers to expand the event over the three-day-long Memorial Day weekend. The Cedaredge Festival Committee is now planning four rodeo performances, instead of the three performances offered in past events.

What a great opportunity for some rough and ready-made fun and excitement over the Memorial Day weekend watching the local youth compete for points and prizes. They will be reliving the heritage of the real Old West that some of them have inherited from their own local pioneer families.

The program of four performances will give local rodeoers a chance for a few extra points in the standings with an extra performance at home, saving the family a bit of weekend traveling.

The date shift and expanded performances are also encouragement for rodeo families to travel to Cedaredge to rack up some late-season points for the national standings before finals. The majority of the traveling rodeo families come from other Colorado towns, although neighboring states are always well represented, too.

According to the NLBRA website, the national finals are at Guthrie, Okla., on July 5-10.

Cedaredge in past years has staged a community celebration in conjunction with the July rodeo. A Main Street parade, the Lions Club cookout in Town Park, and sometimes other events have been featured.

But the parade and other events that had occurred around the WSLBR July rodeo won't be taking place during Memorial Day weekend; at least not according to plans announced as of last week.

The committee is working to come up with community activities to new rodeo dates. There is some discussion of a patriotic Main Street parade on Saturday, July 2. But no firm, final plans had been announced as of last week.

Pioneer Town's Heritage Days celebration is traditionally held on the Saturday before Memorial Day, and it is set for May 28.

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