Story by Stacy Fisher
Photos courtesy Red Bluff Round-Up Association
Buckle on a pair of sturdy leather chaps, lasso the kids, and throw a couple of saddles on your bucket seats and giddy-up yonder to the 95th Annual Red Bluff Round-Up in Red Bluff scheduled for April 15, 16, & 17. Cowboys come from all over the Northern Californian region as well as nationally to participate in this family-friendly event. Attendees come from all over the world to see the rodeo, says James Miller, general manager of the Red Bluff Round-Up Association.
Miller said the event is a major attraction, boosting the local economy and continuing Red Bluff’s heritage as one of the nation’s historic destinations for the best in rodeo. The Round-Up is a Professional Rodeo Cowboy Association (PRCA) event, a national organization which oversees over 800 rodeos throughout the year and around the country, Miller said. Red Bluff is ranked in the top 20 rodeos in the nation. Miller also said the Round-Up was recently inducted into the PRCA’s Pro Rodeo Hall of Fame on August 8 of last year. It is one of only 22 rodeos in the nation that are members of the Hall of Fame.
This yearly competition brings together cowboys and cowgirls to the 110-acre Tehama County Fairgrounds where contestants compete for World Championship points in various categories, including: Bareback and Saddle Bronc Riding, Bull Riding, Team Roping, Steer Wrestling, Tie-Down Roping, and Women’s Barrel Racing.
Two events have been added to this year’s rodeo. The first is a kids’ mutton busting (sheep riding) event, which is being held on Friday as a pre-rodeo event at 6:30 p.m. The second new addition is the Wild Pony bucking event, for younger children who must ride a pony while staying in control for a few feet.
Downtown businesspeople and national sponsorships under the auspices of the PRCA donate to the event, with over $250,000 in prize money awarded to winning contestants, who come from all over North America to compete.
Rodeo performances start Friday, April 15 at 7 p.m. in the evening; Saturday’s performance begins at 2:30 p.m.; and Sunday at 1:30 p.m. Ticket prices vary from $14 to $30 depending on seating and day. The gates open about two hours before the events.
Food vendors bring an assortment of concessions, along with jewelry and clothing. A mechanical bull will be on hand for thrill seekers who attend.
The occasion also marks a week of events throughout the town of Red Bluff, including a bowling tournament, foot race, golf tournament, and a pancake breakfast on Saturday at 7 o’clock in the morning at the Elks Lodge, located on Gilmore Road about two miles from the fairgrounds. For $5 attendees can enjoy ham and eggs, pancakes, and orange juice or coffee. Monies go to the local Kiwanis Club to help fund various scholarships for kids going to college.
After breakfast, starting at 10 a.m. the Round-up parade can be seen marching in downtown Red Bluff featuring country themes put on by the Red Bluff Chamber of Commerce.
On Friday the 16th there’s an after-rodeo party at the Tyler Jelly building located at the Red Bluff Fairgrounds located at 650 Antelope Blvd., featuring acclaimed Country-Western singer Chad Buchnell, sponsored by the Red Bluff Round-Up Association. General admission is just $10, 21 or over.
The Red Bluff Round-Up is an important event for Red Bluff and the surrounding area, Miller remarked, not only historically and culturally, but economically as well, bringing in over $4.1 million in increased business revenue last year.
Throughout the year, rodeo competitions nation-wide determine frontrunners who go on to the National Finals Rodeo (NFR) in Las Vegas, which was held last December. The best individuals enter the Red Bluff Round-Up, competing for bragging rights as well as cash prizes. These are the top cowboys in the world. Rodeo is an extreme sport, Miller said. It takes guts, determination and advanced skill to live the cowboy way.
John Growney is one of five stock contractors that provide horses and livestock for the Red Bluff Round-Up through his business, The Growney Brothers, which has been operating for nearly four decades, and delivers livestock to 24 rodeos a year.
Growney reckoned it takes a lot of handlers to get the animals ready for the rodeo. He said he’s always surrounded himself with dedicated people that are committed to seeing the rodeo be a success and the animal-athletes well cared for. The rodeo has a veterinarian on-site at all times to guarantee the well being of the animals. That’s a mandatory requirement of the Professional Rodeo Cowboy Association, Growney said. Growney insists that the animals at the rodeo are treated well, and are never forced to perform if not in perfect shape and well trained.
The Red Bluff Round-Up Museum and Historical Society, located at 670 Antelope Blvd, was establish to provide a place to showcase the cowboy history of Red Bluff and the Tehama County region. Prominent cowboys like Casey Tibbs, a multi-championship bronco rider in the 40s and 50s, together with Deb Copenhaver, are given special mention at the museum along with many others.
The museum displays hundreds of photographs and various artifacts to commemorate the Round-Up from its official start in 1921 through the present, although some photos date back as far as 1918.
Museum hours are Thursdays and Fridays from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m., and Saturdays from 1 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. Other times and days can be arranged by appointment. Admission is free. For more information call: +1.530.527.8700.
Parking at the fairgrounds is $5, which includes a program.
All RVs and vehicle/trailer combinations entering the parking area for the show must pay a space fee. Reservations may be paid when ordering rodeo tickets. RVs can arrive earlier in the week. Check the website for more details, additional parking locations and fee amounts.
“This is one of the largest events held in Northern California,” Miller pointed out. “It’s definitely family friendly, with generations of families attending the rodeo over several decades.”
Tickets may be bought at the ticket booth near the Main Grandstand if any are left available. Tickets can also be purchased online at: www.redbluffroundup.com. The website provides a seating chart for the Tehama County Fairgrounds and a schedule of rodeo events. The new ticketing system allows attendees to reserve seats online.
People can get additional information by calling the Red Bluff Round-Up Association at +1.530.527.1000 or at +1.800.545.3500 (CA Only). Also: email@example.com.
The Association and Red Bluff Round-Up Museum are located at 670 Antelope Blvd., Suite #2 Red Bluff; museum: +1.530.528.1477.
Mercy Foundation North is the Philanthropic component of St. Elizabeth Community Hospital. The Foundation is very fortunate to have the Red Bluff Rodeo Association’s support. Last year alone, through the Tough Enough to Wear Pink campaign, just under $60,000 was raised by auction for the hospital’s RN Navigator program. This is the second year in a row that the Association has donated to this program. The RN Navigator program offers support at all levels for patients diagnosed with breast cancer. The RN Navigator, Jaci Franceth helps “navigate” patients through the entire process of diagnosis, treatment, education, emotional support, and follow up care. There is a great need to help breast cancer patients in the community and it would not be possible without the Red Bluff Round-Up Association’s generous support. All funds from the Tough Enough To Wear Pink campaigns that are donated to Mercy Foundation North for the St Elizabeth Community Hospital Imaging Center stay in Tehama County. Mercy Foundation North is also the Foundation for Dignity Health North State and also raises funds for Mercy Medical Center Redding and Mercy Mt Shasta. The auction takes place on April 17 at the Round-Up during the Sunday performance at 1:30 p.m.