It’s rodeo time!

Top 12 in CA to compete in seven rodeo events, plus California Heritage Days

Rodeo cover

Sandy Travis and her horse, Shining Hollywood, will open the rodeo Friday with a special performance titled "Ride for the Pink," in honor of breast cancer awareness.

LANCASTER – This weekend, rodeo fans will flock to the AV Fairgrounds to see the top twelve contestants in California compete in seven rodeo events as part of the California Circuit Finals Rodeo.

Organizers held a press conference Wednesday to preview the upcoming events.

“This rodeo just happens to be one of the best, not only in the state of California, but one of the most prestigious rodeos in the United States of America,” said Pro Rodeo announcer Don Jesser.

The rodeo will showcase the competitive skills of the top twelve cowboys and cowgirls in seven rodeo events, including bareback riding, bull riding, saddle bronc riding, steer wrestling, team roping, tie-down roping and barrel racing.

Don Jesser

Pro Rodeo Announcer Don Jesser gives details of the rodeo at a press conference Wednesday.

“These guys have been competing all year long to earn enough money to be in that elite group of cowboys and cowgirls to come to this rodeo,” said Jesser. “What this is going to do is establish an opportunity for the top two cowboys in each event… to go to Oklahoma City for the RAM National Finals. This is why this rodeo is so prestigious.”

The Rodeo will be conducted in conjunction with California Heritage Days, making it fun for the whole family.

The festivities kick off Friday when gates open at 4 p.m. The rodeo begins at 7:30 p.m., with “Ride for the Pink,” featuring a special performance by Sandy Travis and her horse, Shining Hollywood. Fans are encouraged to wear pink on Friday to support breast cancer awareness. Following the rodeo on both Friday and Saturday will be a Van Dam Barn Dance featuring Jake & Molly and The Tone Wranglers.

Los Angeles cowboy Trick Roper, Jim Townsley, will also be strolling the grounds in colorful cowboy dress and entertaining attendees with his Charo style of rope handling. Other attractions will include daily Go Kart rides, hay rides, gold panning and a “How the West was Fun!” area for children, featuring bobbing for apples, tug of war, sack races, and ring tosses.

Jim Townsley

Jim Townsley demostrates his rope handling at the press conference Wednesday.

Saturday will be Wild West Day, with the Fairgrounds opening at noon and the rodeo starting at 7:30 p.m. A Beer Tasting Festival will be held from 12 p.m. to 5 p.m. with beer suppliers to include Blue Moon Brewing, Boston Beer, Sierra Nevada and more. A Custom Truck competition will also be held on Saturday.

“There are always classic car shows that you can see around town, but when was the last time you saw a truck show that included a contest for tail gate set up? Not something you see every day,” said Matther Jimmink, VP of the AV Fair Board of Directors.

Truck enthusiasts can enter their hot rod trucks in the contest to win a trophy for best western tailgating set-up, best low rider, best 4X4, best classic truck (pre 1970) and best of show.

Sunday is Vaquero Day, with festivities kicking off at noon and the rodeo events beginning at 2 p.m. There will be beer tasting from 12 p.m. to 5 p.m., and salsa tasting from noon to 5 p.m. There will also be a Homemade Salsa Contest between noon and 4 p.m., with judging categories to include Spicy red, Salsa Verde, Mild Pico De Gallo, Mango or other fruit. Sunday will also feature live performances from noon to 3 p.m. by Juan Diaz El Plebe de Sinaloa and Banda Sinaloence Rio Grande in the Corona Cantina.

Throughout the three-day event, children are also encouraged to bring in a carved pumpkin to enter a contest to win ribbons and prizes. In exchange for their entering the carved pumpkin contest, children will be given free admission to all events, including the rodeo.

For more information, including a full schedule of events, and admission costs for both the Rodeo and California Heritage Days, visit

The event is presented by the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association, the California Circuit Finals Rodeo Committee, The Antelope Valley Fairgrounds and the City of Lancaster.

  9 comments for “It’s rodeo time!

  1. William
    October 15, 2011 at 1:47 pm

    Matt, there was an column in the Opinion section of the AV Press about a year ago pointing out the places in California that have been converted like the BLV and after a while as they deteriorated, had empty storefronts, etc. So, your comment about the last enclosed mall being built 7 years ago doesn’t show the whole picture.

    I been to the BLVD many times over the last year, mostly in the early afternoon and it’s deserted except for a few pedestrians. I ate at BeX a few weeks ago at around 7:30 PM on a weeknight and there were only 2 other tables with diners besides me. On the way back from every trip to the BLVD, I have to pass by the Mall and it’s always bustling. Heck, some days Palmdale Blvd. has more pedestrian traffic than THE ‘BLVD’. I don’t get this ‘heart of the valley’ BS that Parris is always promoting. But, I guess you have to stick up for your hometown, such as it is.

    Creativity??? Lancaster seems to be only interested in cosmetics, landscaping the off-ranp areas off L, the BLVD and other stuff. The Cineplex is out in the middle of nowhere, the Valley Central shopping center is a place I don’t even bother to go to any more, the old Factory Outlet is another so-so project. Everything is scattered about, wily-nily. Even the BLVD is in an out-of-the way location that requires a lot of surface street travel to get to and it’s barely worth it although I do like the Lemon Leaf steak dinner.

  2. Ted
    October 12, 2011 at 8:37 pm

    Do you like ANYTHING Ace? You poo poo everything that the City has to offer for entertainment. I’m curious… What would YOU like to see for entertainment in Lancaster? Or do you just entertain yourself by complaining?

Comments are closed.