Are you looking for something special to do this month? If your calendar has a clear spot during the third week of July, you might want to consider spending a few days in Salinas and going to the biggest rodeo in California. Visiting Salinas anytime is worthwhile; the town is set in a beautiful valley made famous by John Steinbeck, who grew up here.
But in July, Salinas becomes an important place to visit for cowboys on the PRCA circuit. It’s also a stop on the Wrangler Million Dollar tour. It attracts more than 700 top-ranked professional rodeo cowboys and cowgirls competing for nearly a half million dollars in prize money.
The rodeo began in 1911 as a wild west show. Over years, some famous cowboys have been involved with it; Will Rogers was an honorary director; Gene Autry shot scenes for some of his movies there. The Wild West Show grew into a rodeo, and is now the largest in the state.
There are events all week, but the rodeo kicks off on Thursday and goes on for four days.
The rodeo features 3 rough stock events – bareback riding, saddle bronc riding, and bull riding – and 3 timed events – tie-down roping, steer wrestling, and team roping. These are all PRCA sanctioned contests, but in addition there’s barrel racing, bull fighting, trick riders, animal acts, and more.
The weekend before the rodeo is a busy one, with parades, car shows, and more, but to me, the top event of the week happens on Sunday. There’s a cowboy music and poetry gathering at the Steinbeck center downtown. Dave Stamey – one of the finest western singers to ever tune a guitar – performs his original music, with songs so authentic you taste the dust of the trail. That’s followed by a cowboy poetry session, featuring Larry Maurice, a horse wrangler and packer from the eastern slope of the Sierras.
To get more information, google Salinas rodeo 2016.
I’m Len Wilcox and that’s the Western View from AgNet West.