by Christine Owen
Arts & Entertainment Editor
It will not fill a football stadium and the hotshots in this sport are not common names around the house, but America’s oldest sport will still draw a crowd.
More than 8,000 people attended the San Dimas Western Days Rodeo on Oct. 6 and 7 as it charged into its seventh year of bringing family entertainment to San Dimas.
The San Dimas Rodeo hosts cowboys and cowgirls from the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association, the largest touring circuit of professional cowboys throughout the United States and Canada.
“The rodeo provides a great family event and it’s part of our city’s heritage,” said Gary Enderle, president of the San Dimas Western Days Rodeo Committee.
The sunny weather made it favorable to sit outside and watch some of the best cowboys in the country compete for prize money and a blue sky served as a clear backdrop for skydivers who landed in the arena to kick off the rodeo each day.
This year, the Rodeo Committee organized members of the military, law enforcement agencies and rescue agencies to be present at the start of the rodeo to receive a tribute to “America’s Heroes.”
“We’ve been coming every year since it started,” said Claremont resident Carolyn Bifone, who brought her two young children to the rodeo. “It brings the community together and it’s good for local business,” she said.
Rodeo announcer Cheyenne Pipkin returned for his seventh year to the San Dimas Rodeo.
Pipkin has announced some of the most prestigious rodeo and horse events in the world including the Dodge National Circuit Finals Rodeo and the Military World Finals.
The stock contractor for the event, John Growney, was recently named “Stock Contractor of the Year” at the PRCA National Finals Rodeo. The Growney Brothers Rodeo Company is regularly selected to send stock to the NFR, held each year in Las Vegas.
Four animal rights protesters were at the rodeo on Saturday with a banner that read “Rodeos Hurt Animals.”
A portion of the PRCA handbook on animal welfare reads, “The PRCA values its animals and staunchly protects them with rules specifically designed to prevent cruelty or even unintentional treatment.”
Jeni McDermott, Miss Rodeo California 2001, was at the San Dimas Rodeo to promote the sport and interact with the fans. McDermott is a senior at Cal Poly Pomona majoring in behavioral science and biology.
Enderle said that the San Dimas community has benefited from having such a successful rodeo come to town every year.
“We (the committee) have also purchased, built and donated to the City of San Dimas the rodeo arena which is now open to the general public at no cost,” he said.
The arena and rodeo site are located at Horsethief Canyon Park in north San Dimas. The arena was officially dedicated as the Tex Shoemaker Arena after the famous local horseman and leather goods maker, but the arena is also called the San Dimas Community Equestrian Arena for its community uses.
“So many organizations benefit from being part of the rodeo,” Enderle said. “We have a scholarship program, art contest and this year we are starting a special Challenged Buckaroos Rodeo for special needs children.”
The Challenged Buckaroos Rodeo took place prior to the rodeo on Sunday. Cowboys and McDermott teamed up with disabled children from the community to assist them with events that were designed especially for them. The children rode lightweight “dummy” steers, stick horses and a specially designed, hand-rocked bareback horse.
“The purpose of putting on the Challenged Buckaroos Rodeo is to provide a way for special needs children in our communities to be able to participate in the rodeo,” said CBR chairwoman Tammy Norman.
Celebrity penning entertained and raised money for charity as KZLA 93.9 FM deejay Shawn Parr and actor Blair Underwood were some of the celebrities who rode prior to the rodeo on Saturday.
Rodeo competitors pay an entry fee to participate in the rodeo and a pool of money is divided among the winners of each event.
PRCA cowboys compete at bareback riding, bull riding, calf roping, saddle bronc riding, steer wrestling and team roping while women compete at barrel racing.
Rodeo competition falls into one of two categories: roughstock events or timed events.
Roughstock events are the scored events of pro rodeo and include saddle bronc riding, bareback riding and bull riding. Calf roping, steer wrestling, team roping and barrel racing are timed events.
The winners for the San Dimas Rodeo are as follows: Clint C. Corey, $1,173, bareback riding; Justin Andrade, $1,282, bull riding; Joe A. Beaver, $1,917, calf roping; Jess I. Martin, $1,301, saddle bronc riding; Travis Tryan and Kyle Lockett, $1,655, team roping.