Youth winners at this year’s Ranch Rodeo gather after taking home prizes in the kids-only events last Sunday, Jan. 12. (Contributed Photos)

KING CITY — Last Sunday’s Monterey County Ranch Rodeo drew 118 participants from the Central Coast and paid out $9,083 in prize money to winners at the Salinas Valley Fairgrounds’ Rava Equestrian Center in King City.

The 2020 Ranch Rodeo, a partnership between the Salinas Valley Fair and Monterey County Cattlemen’s Association, promotes spirited competition between working cattlemen and cattlewomen while celebrating western traditions. One tradition is to recognize a local cattleman in memoriam at the event. 

This year’s event was dedicated in memory of Don DeRoza. The top prize was named in his honor and many of DeRoza’s family and friends were on hand Jan. 12 to celebrate him during a brief ceremony.

The 2020 All-Around Champion and winner of the Don DeRoza Memorial Running P Saddle was Andy Holcomb of Paso Robles. 

Mattie Work captured the title of 2020 Ladies All-Around Champion, receiving a champion buckle.

Through the support of local businesses and individuals, awards were given to the following first-place winners of each event: Jessika Willoughby and Andy Holcomb, Cut and Rope team; Colton Miller, Open Steer Stopping; Garrett Bookenoogan, Bill Kaufman and Jennifer Roden, Cattle Sorting team; Colton Miller, CJ DeForest, Blake Cronin and Ed Roth, Open Calf Branding team; Jeff Parker and Alison Grantham, Over 50 Calf Branding team; Gianna Toso, Ladies Breakaway; Cynnie O’Connor and Kasey Hurley, Ladies Calf Branding team; and Sarah Brewen and Tatum Hurley, Junior Calf Branding team.

“We are especially proud of our local cowgirls who left the Ranch Rodeo with buckles, Jessika Willoughby, Cynnie O’Connor, Kasey Hurley, Sarah Brewen and Tatum Hurley and all those who participated,” said TJ Plew, Salinas Valley Fair CEO.

Youth ages 2 to 10 participated in the Ranch Rodeo kids-only events, and winners received first-place buckles. 

Paige DeRoza raced off with the first prize in the Kids Stick Horse Race for youth 3 and under, while Bryce Hoover won the Kids Stick Horse Race for those 4 to 6 years old. Ella Selby captured the buckle for the Kids Boot Race. In the contested Dummy Roping, Denton Little won in the 4-and-under category, Miranda Sabin won for those 5 to 7 years old and Ella Selby came out on top for youth ages 8 to 10.

“Salinas Valley Fair and Monterey County Cattlemen’s Association is especially thankful for all the cattlemen and cattlewomen that volunteered to put on the event, the King City FFA and the donation of cattle from David Wood of Wood’s Livestock and the Topo Ranch,” Plew said.

Next year’s Ranch Rodeo date has yet to be determined, as organizers are considering opportunities to expand the event’s activities.

For more information about the Salinas Valley Fair and rodeo events at the Rava Equestrian Arena, go to or call 831-385-3243.

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