SALINAS — California Rodeo Salinas’ final performance Sunday entertained 16,846 fans at the Salinas Sports Complex, where attendance was up 8% over the same performance last year.
Total ticket sales for the 2023 Rodeo’s four performances, July 20-23, totaled 61,771 — up 7.5% overall from 2022.
Sunday was Crown Royal Day of Champions, during which event winners were presented their buckles, and Golden Circle of Champions Day, a program that generated funds and awareness for pediatric cancer. California Rodeo Salinas honored four pediatric cancer survivors and collected donations during the performance.
Paden Bray of Stephenville, Texas, won the all-around title; Orin Larsen won the bareback riding; Ty Harris and Caleb Smidt tied to win the tie-down roping; Josey Murphy won the girls breakaway roping; and Lefty Holman won the saddle bronc riding.
Coy Tahlmann and Jonathan Torres won the team roping; JD Yates and Todd Hampton won the Gold Card roping; and HP Evetts and Monty Jo Petska won the incentive roping.
Taycie Matthews won the girls barrel race; Tucker Allen won the steer wrestling; Josh Frost won the bull riding; and Weston Rutkowski won the freestyle bullfights.
Full results can be found at tinyurl.com/CARodeoResults.
Rodeo draws increased attendance
The 113th California Rodeo Salinas kicked off Thursday night with Wrangler Tough Enough to Wear Pink Night, presented by Mechanics Bank and Salinas Valley Health. The first performance drew 12,285 people to the Salinas Sports Complex — up 16% over Thursday ticket sales in 2022.
“The stands were full of fans in their pink shirts and cowboys hats cheering on the cowboys and cowgirls and helping their community at the same time,” said Rodeo officials. “$1 from each ticket sold tonight (was) donated to the Comprehensive Cancer Center at Salinas Valley Health.”
Night two brought a sold-out crowd of 17,500 out to the sporting complex for the second consecutive year on Friday. Church Brothers’ The Mighty Green won the produce mascot race benefiting Ag Against Hunger.
Saturday saw ticket sales at 15,140 — up 9% over last year. The performance, however, was marked by an unfortunate incident during the tie-down roping, during which a calf fractured its femur. The animal had to be euthanized by the on-site veterinarian, according to a statement from Rodeo officials.
Also that evening, Director John Sargenti was presented with the Gold Saddleman award for his almost 60 years of volunteering with the Rodeo.
Riders tie for bull riding championship
Prior to the annual Rodeo, a sold-out crowd of 10,565 people watched the Big Week Bull Riding Xtreme Bulls event at the Salinas Sports Complex last Wednesday night.
“Presented by Salinas Valley Ford, the Big Week Bull Riding continues to be one of the most popular events held each July, selling out again, like it did from 2015-2019 and in 2022,” said Rodeo officials.
Cullen Telfer of Plant City, Fla., and Denton Fugate of Ash Flat, Ark., tied for the championship, each with an 87-point ride. Telfer rode Corey & Lange’s Stand by Me and Fugate rode Corey & Lange’s Cold Turkey in the long round to take the win on July 19.
The championship buckle was sponsored by Rancho San Lucas.
California Rodeo Association, which supports the community and other nonprofits through the staging of the annual Rodeo and other year-round operations of the Salinas Sports Complex, is a not-for-profit organization that “strives to preserve and promote the traditions of the California Rodeo Salinas and the West.”
Through donation of its facility, vending and fundraising opportunities during the Rodeo and other events, the Association returns more than $560,000 annually to local nonprofits.
The 114th California Rodeo Salinas is scheduled to take place July 18-21, 2024. For more information, visit CARodeo.com.