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May 14, 2013 > Mount up for Rowell Ranch Rodeo week

Mount up for Rowell Ranch Rodeo week

By Steve Taylor

The image of America as a land filled with men carrying guns and wearing cowboy hats lives only in the minds of newcomers and romantics. That changes this week when the Rowell Ranch Rodeo in Hayward takes us back to a time when a man was judged by his horse and how well he could rope and ride. As it has for the past 93 years, the Rowell Ranch Rodeo (RRR) celebrates the Western spirit with bulls and dust and mud (as the song goes), with something fun and dangerous-looking all week long.

Over 100 local participants kicked off the event in downtown Castro Valley on May 11 with the Rowell Ranch Rodeo Parade. Next up is the Celebrity Team Penning and BBQ Wednesday the 15th, starting at 3 p.m. at the RRR Park on Dublin Canyon Road where riders herd semi-tamed livestock into designated pens. Team roping, where a steer is released and two horsemen try to toss lassos over the head and rear legs fastest, starts Thursday the 16th. The Rodeo's premier event, bull riding, starts Friday the 17th with the Rockin' Bull Bash & Wild Cow Milking followed by a dance at 7 p.m. for those cowboys who can still walk.

Wild Cow Milking is not to be missed by anyone who roots for the critters. The event consists of two cowboys - the roper and the "mugger." The mugger's name is apt; he wrestles the wild cow down and tries to fill a small bottle with milk but usually gets thrashed in the process.

In 2008, videos were circulated by an animal rights group that showed livestock contractors at the RRR using hand-held "cattle prods" to shock horses into bucking out of the chutes (where the horses and bulls are penned before release into the area). George Pacheco, Treasurer of RRR's Board of Directors, assured attendees any such devices on the grounds would only be used for safety, not for performance. "If a cowboy gets pinned under a half-ton animal in a chute, you can't just lift him off," Pacheco points out. RRR follows all Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association (PRCA) rules and, according to their website "value their animals, as do the PRCA stock contractors that provide the livestock for the rodeos. Like most people, PRCA members believe animals should be provided proper care and treatment. The PRCA and its members value their animals and staunchly protect them with specifically created rules."

The Cowboy Experience is a fun event for children where they learn about the sport of rodeo from cowboys in the arena. Bring your little cowpokes to the Rodeo Park at 11a.m. both Saturday and Sunday where they'll get to experience livestock care and "learn the ropes" and even toss lassos.

Throughout the weekend, RRR is teamed with Operation Mom to collect items for our troops overseas. Bins are available at all Rowell Ranch Rodeo events. May 18 is "Armed Forces Day" in support of our men and women in the armed services, and May 19 is "Tough Enough to Wear Pink Day" in support of breast cancer awareness. Live music is spread throughout the week with the California Cowboys headlining.

Tickets for individual events range from $12 - $20 and can be purchased online, at the gates, or at the unofficial RRR headquarters at Rowell's Saddlery, 3473 Castro Valley Boulevard in Castro Valley. For more information, call (510) 581-2577 or go to:

Rowell Ranch Rodeo
May 18 and 19
10 a.m.
Dublin Canyon Road
(Between Castro Valley and Dublin)
(510) 581-2577
Tickets: $12 - $20

Schedule of Events:
Saturday, May 18:
10 a.m. - Gates Open
10:30 a.m. - Special Partners Event
11 a.m. - Cowboy Experience
1:30 p.m. - Grand Entry Rowell Ranch Pro Rodeo
5 p.m. Tri-Tip BBQ and live music featuring The California Cowboys

Sunday, May 19:
10 a.m. - Gates Open
11 a.m. - Cowboy Experience
1:30 p.m. - Grand Entry Rowell Ranch Pro Rodeo

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