LANCASTER— This weekend, thousands of fans will flock to the Antelope Valley Fairgrounds for the RAM PRCA (Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association) California Circuit Finals Rodeo. The event runs from Friday through Sunday and is being held in conjunction with the California Heritage Days events.
“We wanted to round out the three-day rodeo with California Heritage Days to celebrate our great State of California with fun, western themed activities for the whole family,” said Ron Emard, President of the Antelope Valley Fair Association Board of Directors.
The rodeo will showcase the competitive skills of the top 12 contestants in the California Circuit for all seven rodeo events (bareback riding, bull riding, saddle bronc riding, steer wrestling, team roping, tie-down roping, barrel racing).
The festivities kick-off on Friday, October 19 with Patriotic Day. The gates open at 4 p.m. with music by the Shotgun Annie band in the Corona Cantina. Prior to the start of the Rodeo, the Tehachapi Dust ‘n Diamonds Equestrian Drill Team will entertain the audience with their pre-show precision routines. The rodeo begins at 7:30 p.m. with a salute to the fivebranches of military.
Saturday, October 20 is “Ride for the Pink” day in honor of breast cancer awareness, and all fans are encouraged to wear pink. The gates open at 4 p.m. The Norco Cowgirls Rodeo Drill Team American Paint and Quarter Horses will provide a pre-show performance of fast paced maneuvers. The rodeo begins at 7:30 p.m.
The High Desert Dairy/Van Dam Barn Dances will be held immediately following the Rodeo on both Friday and Saturday nights. Music will be performed by Jacob Nelson and the Tone Wranglers, featuring Molly Wineland.
Competitors for the Kansas City BBQ Cook Off arrive on Friday night to set up and begin BBQ’ing. They will compete in four categories – Chicken, Ribs, Pork and Brisket – for $7,200 in cash prizes and trophies. The Cook Off awards will take place in the Corona Cantina on Saturday, at 7 p.m., with some of the competitors staying through Sunday to sell their entries.
Sunday, October 21 is Vaquero Day, sponsored by Vallarta Supermarkets. Gates open at 11 a.m. and the rodeo will begin at 2 p.m. The community is encouraged to enter the 2nd Annual Homemade Salsa Contest. Contestants bring ONE (1) quart of prepared, fresh salsa between 11:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m. to the main gate of the fairgrounds (limit ONE (1) per person) and will receive TWO (2), FREE general admission tickets (includes Rodeo). The Drop off time for Salsa entries will be between11:30 a.m. and 12:30 p.m. at the Tiki Bar. Salsa will be judged in the following categories: Spicy red, Salsa Verde, Mild-Pico De Gallo and Mango or other fruit. The winning entries will be announced at an awards ceremony at 1 p.m. in the Tiki Bar.
Also on Sunday, a Tardeada will be held in the Corona Cantina, featuring Mariachi Sonido Internacional, Banda Tierra Colimense, Banda Autentica de Terra con Pancho Picadiente, and Banda Troyana.
Jesse Cacho of the equestrian group, “Asociacion Ecuestre Amigos del Valle” will also be a part of Vaquero Day Sunday, with his rare Andalusian horses (only 20,000 in the world).
Other grounds attractions will include daily Go Kart rides for $5 and complimentary hay rides. The Giddy Up Ranch Petting Zoo & Pony rides will also be featured on Saturday and Sunday.
A new addition to California Heritage Days on Saturday and Sunday (two performances each day) is the Law Dogs ‘n Ladies “Tribute to Tombstone” Performance Group. The Law Dogs are an Old West History group dedicated to preserving the Wild West history. The live production will include 16 of the most memorable scenes from the movie, Tombstone. The shows will also feature World Champion Gun Spinner, Tony Redburn.