You don’t make it to the ripe old age of 107 (like the California Rodeo Salinas has) without some good DNA. Here are some of the coolest parts of the rodeo’s genes to watch out for:
Kiddie Kapers Parade
The young cowboys and cowgirls – about a thousand in total – ride bikes, on floats and in wagons throughout Oldtown Salinas to kick off the Rodeo’s Big Week. This already happened, but it’s so darn cute we had to include it on this list.
While most of the events targeted at kids are out of the arena, the mutton busting puts the future cowboys right in the dirt as they try to hang onto a galloping sheep. The best riders compete at 1:15pm Sunday, July 23 for the coveted California Rodeo Salinas belt buckle.
PRCA Rodeo Events
Salinas is one of the top 20 regular rodeos in the country and one of the most prestigious to win the giant belt buckle. Over 600 cowboys and cowgirls perform to win a combination of over $400,000 in hardcore events – team roping, steer wrestling, saddle bronc riding and more.
The only PRCA event for cowgirls pits women racing the clock around three barrels without knocking them over. It’s dusty, fast-paced and the ladies turn their trusty steeds at sharp angles similar to a Laguna Seca rider flinging a motorcycle around a corner at high speed.
Miss California Rodeo Horsemanship Contest
This free event (at 8am Thursday, July 20) gathers the candidates for the Miss California Rodeo crown in an event that counts for 40 percent of the contest. Each girl will combine a short reining pattern and a presentation run on their own horse and then will draw to see which of the other contestants’ horses they ride.
Junior Barrel Race
Two dozen young performers – 18 girls and six boys – will race around barrels in front of the huge rodeo crowd at 6pm Thursday, July 20. The kids, ranging from ages 6-18 in three different classes, qualified from the Monterey County Sheriff’s Posse Junior Rodeo.
The bullfighters maybe be dressed in colorful costumes wearing color all over their grills, but don’t let the facepaint fool you. They’re just as much athletes as the bronc riders and other cowboys as they jump and dive out of the way of the charging bulls. The bullfights conclude the rodeo competitions with the finals on Sunday afternoon between 1-4pm.
California Rodeo Heritage Museum
The action isn’t restricted to the arena. Sometimes a break from the hot sun is needed in the form of looking back at how the California Rodeo Salinas got its start all the way back in the 1870s, when a race track, stables and grandstand was built. In 1911, the first official rodeo was held in a Salinas, and it eventually grew into the event seen today. The Heritage Museum features memorabilia including vintage Miss California Rodeo outfits, rodeo clown costumes and other attire from some of the rodeo’s most famous alumni.
Industrial Calf Dressing
The rare event wherein spectators can join in the rodeo action: A team of three must dress a live calf in a pair of giant Wrangler jeans as quickly as possible.