This weekend, the San Dimas community was treated to the 19th annual San Dimas Western Days Rodeo in Horsethief Park, complete with horseback riding, calf-roping and plenty of country spirit.
The park had been transformed for the weekend to host country vendors and a small arena for the rodeo.
Hundreds of people flocked to the rodeo sporting their cowboy boots and hats to get into the spirit of the day.
“It’s really that great feeling of going back to the old days that I enjoy so much about this event,” said San Dimas resident Lisa Ward, 34.
Ward is no stranger to the rodeo. “I’ve been here too many times to count. It brings families together and provides really great entertainment for everyone.”
The park was soaked in true western flavor from the shops and vendors, to the food and refreshments.
The rodeo itself was the centerpiece of the event, as hundreds of country fans filled the bleachers with food and beer in their hands to cheer on the contestants.
The show began with a skydiving show courtesy of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department and the Golden Star Sky Diving team.
This opening also showcased the patriotic spirit of the rodeo as U.S. flags were flown and American songs were sung.
“There’s a real sense of patriotism at rodeos like this that I think has been sort of lost in the country as of late,” said Covina resident Robert Brown, 63.
“That’s probably my favorite part about a good old-fashioned rodeo: It puts away the bad parts of this country for just a little while and focuses on the good.”
With the opening patriotic celebration done, it was time for the rodeo to properly get under way. Participants in the events competed for cash prizes and pride.
The contests included bronco riding, tie-down roping and barrel racing.
Most of the participants in the event left with torn clothes and bruised bodies as they frequently fell from their horses thanks to the physicality of the contest.
“To me the winners don’t matter nearly as much as the fun of having the event in the first place,” Brown said.
“Seeing everybody in the crowd have those huge smiles on their faces and cheering, we all know they’re the real winners.”
For many, the rodeo represents and escape from modern civilization. People flocked from all across Southern California to be entertained for the weekend by the country fun.
“We came all the way from Newport just for this,” said Michelle Raymond, 24.
“I grew up riding horses so this really takes me back. The bonding, the change of scenery, it’s all really refreshing.”
The multitude of fans present agreed that preserving the western spirit of the day was what was most important.
“What’s not to love? The horses, the action, the tradition, That’s real western, man. You can’t beat that,” Brown said. “There’s a whole world out there beyond concrete and cell phones. The only sad part is that it’s fading fast.”
Julian Burrell can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.