LANCASTER— Thousands are expected to gather at the Antelope Valley Fairgrounds this weekend for the RAM Professional Cowboys Association California Circuit Finals Rodeo. The event, which runs from Oct. 18-20, is being held in conjunction with the California Heritage Days that includes a Kansas City BBQ cook-off and tasting, great food, shopping and more.
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 and barrel racing).
Announcing will be provided by Don Jesser and Kelly Kenney, and there will be daily performances by internationally acclaimed horseman and rope artist – Tomas Garcilazo – the Charro.
The festivities kick-off on Friday, October 18, “Patriotic Day.” The gates open at 5 p.m. and the rodeo will begin at 7:30 p.m. with a salute to the five branches of military.
Saturday, October 19 is “Ride for the Pink day.” The Gates open at 5 p.m. and attendees are encouraged to get to their seats early Saturday night for a special Ride for the Pink opening. Ride for the Pink is an organization dedicated to raising money for breast cancer research, awareness and treatment. Guests can be a part of the night’s theme by wearing pink. The Rodeo will begin at 7:30 p.m.
On Friday and Saturday only, free line dancing lessons with KTPI Radio station’s DJ Cowboy James will be demonstrated at 5 p.m. in the Corona Cantina before the Rodeo. Those who have never line danced before or are looking to brush up on their dancing skills are encouraged to come “early and stay late” on both evenings to dance the night away with Jacob Nelson and the Tone Wranglers, who will perform live at the Van Dam Barn Dance after the Rodeo. For more information, go to www.jacobnelson.com. Free photos on the Rodeo Red Carpet will also be available as part of the “Rodeo After Dark” celebration on both nights.
Sunday, October 20 is “Vaquero Day.” Gates open at noon and the rodeo begins at 3 p.m. The community is encouraged to enter the 3rd Annual Homemade Salsa Contest. Contestants who bring one quart of prepared, fresh salsa between noon and 1 p.m. to the main gate of the fairgrounds will receive two free general admission tickets (includes Rodeo).
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 2 p.m. in the Tiki Bar. No pre-registration necessary.
Also on Sunday, October 20, Jesse Cacho of the equestrian group, “Asociacion Ecuestre Amigos del Valle” will showcase his beautiful and rare Andalusian horses (only 20,000 in the world). Andalusian horses are easily identified by their showy, rhythmic walk and high stepping trot some people describe as “dancing”.
Hispanic music performances are scheduled in the Corona Cantina, featuring Mariachi Perla Jalisciense at 2 p.m. and Banda Arkangel R15 from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. Also scheduled to appear and sign autographs will be Miss Rodeo California – Dakota Skellenger of Bakersfield.
Other grounds attractions will include daily Go Kart rides for $5 and the Giddy Up Ranch Petting Zoo & Pony rides, which will be featured on Saturday and Sunday.
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: Grand Champion: $1,000; Reserve Champion: $750; 3rd Overall: $500; 4th Overall: $250; and 5th Overall: $200. 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 2 oz. samples of their entries.
RODEO & CALIFORNIA HERITAGE DAYS ADMISSION TICKETS
(Admission includes Rodeo – a separate ticket is not required. Daily parking is $5)
- Adults 12+ years old: $10, $15, $20 and $25
- Youth 3-11 years old: $6 (in $10 seat section ONLY)
- Children 2 years and under: FREE with paid adult
Purchase tickets at avfair.com.