July 18, 2010 - Leave a Response

Ahh Big Week was TRULY big this year… and Championship Sunday was as suspenseful and as worth it as always! 

So many highlights from today, where do I start… 

Polly cruised the track before the parade, and was a true lady, so I was very pleased with her behavior! I told her to think about running barrels there in a couple of years! 

When I got off Polly, I saw my friend Linsay Rosser Sumpter all duded up, and ready to ride into the giant boot! Linsay’s family owns Flying U Rodeo Company, and puts on rodeos all over the country, and provides stock as well. Last year she married professional steer wrestler Wade Sumpter. She’s been rodeoing since before she could walk! So no one is better suited to rise to the boot challenge than her! She gave me a tour of the boot, it’s crazy that she’s in there for so long! Anywhere from 20 to 40 minutes before she makes her grand appearance! Her horse has to be very calm and patient, and so does she! It’s quite the undertaking to make everything come off smoothly… but that’s what professionals do! 

Very full grandstands!


After my exciting boot adventures, we watched the pro cowboys give it their all in the performance… The team roping was great watching, maybe because I love it so much, but I thought it was a great round, some tough roping. The barrel racing had two champions, proving it’s always a tough competition. I’ve also never seen the grandstands as full as they were all four days of the rodeo this year. I looked into the grandstands and was so pleased to be sharing something I love so much with so many people! 

After the performance, we headed out to the President’s Dinner. Craig Andrus has been a family friend for years and years and years… and his family put on the most beautiful party I’ve ever been to, ever. Western themed, decorations featured relics of Salinas Rodeo’s past. Like the old score board, signs, and a buffet of classic rodeo/fair food that had everyone eating way too much. It was a class act… even featuring the official Salinas Rodeo band! It was like the entire rodeo picked up and moved to the Andrus Ranch! Impressive feat, and more than successfully accomplished. 

This week was incredibly hard work and so many people made this particular Centennial edition of the Salinas Rodeo INCREDIBLY special and memorable. Thank you to everyone at the Salinas Rodeo. See you for 101!!!


July 17, 2010 - Leave a Response

Saturday at the Rodeo is always my favorite!

Highlights from the day:

The Exceptional Rodeo! Held on the track before the rodeo kicks off, children with special needs get to ride, rope, and meet rodeo contestants. I first took part last year, and I had to be there again this year. I led the kids around on a nice gentle horse… To see the smile on some of those little faces… it really puts things in perspective. They had a blast, and I appreciated being able to be a part of it.

I also got to watch the parade in its entirety today! No interruptions. We waved to the queens as tradition calls for!

Team roping wasn’t too strong in the performance today, although Tammy and Ryan White had a great run. Tammy is one of the few women in team roping who can hold their own with the men, so of course she’s someone I look up to!

Now all that’s left is slack Sunday morning, which will consist only of team roping, and then the performance tomorrow afternoon, the top cowboys and cowgirls coming back to try to win it all! Every contestant dreams of coming back to Salinas on Sunday.

My horse Polly is going to make a visit to the rodeo grounds tomorrow to see the sights and sounds… you never know. It might be preparation for a few years from now when she’s entered!

Cowboy Girls on Friday Night

July 17, 2010 - One Response

Day two of the Centennial Celebration was an absolute success! If I do say so myself :)

Hightlights from Friday include:

Getting to interview Mr. Billy Etbauer, 5-time World Champion Saddle Bronc Rider, and my hero. I’m always afraid to step up and say hello, but as soon as he starts talking about what he loves to do, he makes me smile… and then genuinely thanked me for talking with him. Such a class act. Billy bucked off in the Friday night’s performance, so we won’t see him back on Sunday…. but even when he gets bucked off, he gets up with such a grin on his face, you have to laugh!

One of our features Friday evening was meeting the Riata Ranch Cowboy Girls, expert trick riders ranging in age from 12 to 19 years old. They’re so talented! They’re either upside down, or backwards, no hands, standing up, all on horses that are running as fast as they can down the track in front of the main grandstands. They are really something to see! I remember watching them at the California Rodeo Salinas while I was growing up, and they were always such a highlight. I’ve been disappointed they haven’t been around the last few years, so what a pleasure to have them back for the 100th! And they’re very poised young ladies too, on and off the track.

KSBW photographers, director, and reporters enjoying the California Rodeo!

Another fun moment: having some KSBW visitors to the live truck! Which called for a group picture!

Keep checking in throughout the weekend! Much more to come!!!

Opening day

July 16, 2010 - Leave a Response

Opening day of the Centennial celebration at the California Rodeo Salinas was not only full of action, but it was steeped in tradition and I really felt like I could feel it in the air! I had a different feeling as I watched the roughstock cowboys preparing under the chutes… A feeling like they were a part of history in that very moment. Thursday was a very special day!

And remember my excitement about the Giant Boot? I have to tell you, it’s only grown! It was a focal point in Thursday’s grand entry. The pageant of flags has been changed this year to explain the history of the California Rodeo Salinas, instead of the history of California, as in past years. As the flag routine finishes, the boot stands in the middle of the track, front and center… and then the National Anthem begins. And up from the boot rises a cowgirl on a horse presenting the American flag. And she rotates around! It’s beautiful and poignant and I love it! (I also know the girl who comes out of the boot, and there is no cowgirl more suited for that honor than her!)

On to day two… this 100th year is flying by!

Wednesday means… just one more day!

July 14, 2010 - Leave a Response

     Great rodeo-eve out at the rodeo grounds today! Everyone was gearing up, and I was seeing those smiling, 

The Giant Boot is Back!

friendly faces I miss all year long! One of the highlights of my day, the giant boot! There’s just something about a giant red, white, and blue cowboy boot that made me smile from ear to ear! 

The PBR was a hit once again this year. Some of the most well-known bull riders gave Stephanie Chuang and I some great interviews. One of them said he had some “minor” injuries, including brain surgery. We thought, “What?!” But that’s a bull rider for you! 

We also caught up with some Miss California Rodeo Queen contestants as they moved through a very busy day of appearances.

Brittany Hart and Brittany Voss

Brittany Hart and Brittany Voss, or “The Brittany’s,” as they called themselves, were kind enough to pause for a moment so we could get this picture. They had a big day ahead of them: The personality and appearance portion of the contest, and an early Thursday morning horsemanship competition. 

A fun live shot Wednesday on Action News at 6 – Here’s the link in case you missed it!

I’ll be out bright and early watching the slack portions of the barrel racing and timed events Thursday morning. A great way to take in all the action! 

Now: Let’s celebrate the biggest rodeo in California’s 100th Anniversary!

Happy 100th Anniversary, CALIFORNIA RODEO SALINAS!!!!

July 13, 2010 - Leave a Response

Happy 100th Anniversary, CALIFORNIA RODEO SALINAS!!!!

So many preparations, and so many amazing memories have led up to this landmark year!

This year on my little blog I’ll be sharing some of my favorite things with you! Some of my favorite rodeo contestants, favorite events, favorite everything I can think of! So to start off, how about my five favorite things I’m looking forward to at this year’s Centennial event!

1)    Singing I Love You California! I broke out singing it in the newsroom the other day.

2)    Watching all the action during slack! It’s the time to see the most of each event, and it’s held every day before the performance.

3)    Watching the most talented horses in all of prorodeo. Conditions at Salinas are challenging not only cowboys and cowgirls, but for their equine partners as well! The score, the head start you have to give the steers and calves, is longer at Salinas than at almost any other rodeo. That means they get a big head start, and you’re FLYING down the arena to catch up! It’s also a challenge for barrel racers too, because their horses have to run really hard on a really narrow track. It’s a special horse that will take you to victory at Salinas.

4)    Seeing friends! I only get to see some of my very favorite people when they’re in town during the Salinas Rodeo! It’s such a special homecoming.

5)    There’s so many more things I’m looking forward to… but last but not least… I’m anxious to see who’s standing in front of the grandstands with those legendary Salinas buckle on Sunday!

Only 365 Days to Go!

July 19, 2009 - Leave a Response

Another fantastic year at the California Rodeo Salinas…  Rope trick artists, World Champions, great friends… I don’t know what can be better!

july 031Today once slack was completed, committee members who volunteer their time all week long have a chance to enter a team roping competition… a very mini rodeo, if you will. My dad had the opportunity to rope in it, and it’s a kick to watch everyone get into the action.july 037 One of the winners included my friend Lee, who I used to high school rodeo with. He’s seen in this picture being presented his plaque by his dad. Father-son photo opp… I couldn’t resist!

What would a perfect rodeo day be without a little sunburn? I even wore a cap! But oh well. The pageant of flags was at its best today, I thought…. maybe I’m getting old and sentimental, but watching an entire grandstands come alive when the American flag comes thundering down the track is pretty impressive. It makes me proud to be a part of the rodeo, and priveleged to have the opportunity.  july 039

The best part of the Sunday performance is getting to see who claims the top spot in each event, and gets to add Salinas Rodeo to their resume. It brings the very best to center stage… with names like Trevor Brazile, Mike Johnson, Stran Smith in the calf roping… and Clay Tryan and Cory Petska in the team roping. Two high school friends roping together in the team roping won 4th place… Good job Jake Rodriguez and Evan Arnold! Congratulations!

You can find a complete list of winners on the California Rodeo Salinas website, at

july 023And a big CONGRATULATIONS to the California Rodeo, which will celebrate its Centennial Anniversary next year! I know city leaders and Salinas Rodeo organizers are preparing to make next year a very special event… even more special than the Rodeo has already become to this community. I look forward to doing it all over again! I can’t wait! Only 365 days to go. I’ll wait it out by working on my horse Polly… then maybe we can go to the rodeo together next year as contestants! Or maybe the year after, more likely :)

Thanks for taking the rodeo road with me this week. It’s been such a pleasure to share it with you!

Sunny Saturday at the Rodeo!

July 18, 2009 - 2 Responses

Another great performance at the California Rodeo Salinas! A chance to catch up with friends from out of the area… and enjoy watching a great sport with them. Today was also exciting because one of my best friends sold one of her horses to National Finals Rodeo Qualifier, Kory Koontz.

Kory Koontz in the roping box.

Kory Koontz in the roping box.

Kory’s been one of my favorite professional team ropers for a long time. The horses these pros ride are like high performance race cars. They get the best care, best feed… if they aren’t performing at their best, you can’t rope your best… and your chances of winning diminish. So for my friend to sell her horse to the best of the best was pretty thrilling. To top it off, Koontz roped on that horse today, and we got to watch it’s debut at its first professional rodeo! To train a horse and have it reach that level… it’s a big deal :) I felt like a proud aunt! Haha.

Enjoying the rodeo with my mom, and friend Fallon.

Enjoying the rodeo with my mom, and friend Fallon.

I got to enjoy the show today with my mom and dad. My dad helps out down at the timed event chutes, sorting calves and steers, so mom and I visited and helped out with moral support!

Tomorrow will be the grand finale… and a treat to watch the very best try to win the prestigious Salinas Rodeo buckle. I’ll be there bright and early to watch the team roping slack in the morning, and of course the performance in the afternoon. Wouldn’t miss it! See you there!

Friday Performance

July 18, 2009 - Leave a Response

Well today I met someone I never imagined I’d run into. A bullfighter turned American Gladiator, Hollywood Don Yates. I’ve watched Hollywood most of my life… I’ve sucked in a breath with everyone else watching every time we thought he’d really done himself in that time. ca rodeo hollywoodHe’s a really creative, driven person… with a BIG personality, and a loyalty and passion to the sport and way of life of rodeo.  You’d think a guy like him would have accomplished all the things he’s wanted… He was Wolf on American Gladiator! But he says he has way more he wants to do… He has ideas for tv shows about rodeo, he writes music and is working on a career in that industry next. And he LOVES bull fighting! Loooooves it.


I got to take in a lot more rodeo action than I did on Thursday… I saw some great runs in the team roping. Patrick Smith and Trevor Brazile, both World Champions, made a great run in the seven second range. I’d expect nothing less! :) But it’s always a treat to watch professionals like them.

It’s neat to have our live truck right next to the bucking chutes… ca rodeo 013I’m used to the timed event side of the arena, so roughstock land is all new to me! I like to see the different ways they prepare, how they saddle their broncs, all those fun things.


This evening my photographer and I made our way to the vendors to check out the Jelly Belly booth. They were bean boozeling people. I don’t want to give the secret away if you didn’t see it on our newscasts… Go check it out. Good luck not getting black pepper or moldy cheese!

I knew that team roper Michael Jones was sponsored by the candy company because a good friend of mine is good friends with him. They call him Jelly Belly, actually, haha. And you should see his horse trailer! It’s COVERED in giant jelly beans, very cool!

Michael Jones, sponsored by Jelly Belly

Michael Jones, sponsored by Jelly Belly

He also had this stylish poster hanging in the Jelly Belly tent. I think it’s awesome :) The samples were tasty, too!

Tomorrow we leave night performances and begin the show at 1pm. The parade will be longer, and will weave through town before it makes its way onto the track at about 12:30pm. Rodeo royalty from around the country will be here, even more than you may have seen already. I remember waving to them as a little girl watching the rodeo from the roping chutes with my dad. I haven’t changed a whole lot, have I!ca rodeo 001

Lots more to come Saturday… There’s nothing like a beautiful summer day at the California Rodeo Salinas!!!

Day TWO!

July 17, 2009 - Leave a Response

Timed event cowboys were swarming around the rodeo grounds Friday morning, preparing for slack at 11am. Warming up their horses, visiting, checking out the cattle. ca rodeo fri morning slack

Many of them like to familiarize their horses with the roping box, the starting place for roping and steer wrestling events. That’s what the ropers in this picture are doing before the real action got started.

The view at Friday morning slack.

The view at Friday morning slack.

Can’t wait to report back on what happens in this evening’s performance! 

Happy Rodeo Week!


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