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May 15, 2012 > A rootin' tootin' good time

A rootin' tootin' good time

By Mauricio Segura

For a lot of people, the thought of going to a hot, dry, and dusty place would be one of the most unappealing outings imaginable. But add a Wild West essence, throw in the word "rodeo," and as Robert Samuels of Pleasanton puts it, "You button up your Levi's and jump into your leather boots before you can say yee-haw!"

Back for its 92nd year, the Rowell Ranch Rodeo will be in full gallop on May 19 and 20. Enjoy countless activities like roping, horse and bull riding, the cowboy experience, dancing, chili cook-off, and the best BBQ this side of the Rio Grand. "I look forward to the Rowell Ranch Rodeo every year," says Shannon Mantinelli of Modesto. "The excitement, the food, and the people are amazing. There truly are no words to actually describe it. You just have to go and experience it yourself. Our husbands think we just enjoy the animals and food, but the cowboys are really nice to look at!"

The first rodeos held in the Hayward area were presented by Don Guillermo Castro in the early 1800s, and in time, eventually died along with the presenter himself. Then in 1912, Englishman Harry Rowell migrated to the Bay Area and within a few years began a successful saddlery business. He revived the rodeos in 1921, first on the athletic fields of Burbank School in Hayward, then to their current location on his Dublin Canyon ranch in 1925.

Rowell eventually became known as the biggest rodeo stock contractor in the West, supplying rodeos with cows and other animals for their events. He also became the director of the Grand National Rodeo at the Cow Palace from 1941 through 1952, an event which is still going strong year after year.

Rowell passed away in 1969, but his wife Maggie saw to it to continue her husband's legacy. After her death in 1975, Hayward Area Recreation and Park District took over the rodeo site with the promise that the grounds be made available every year, free of charge, to the Hayward Rodeo and Junior Rodeo. For their contributions and committed work, both Harry and Maggie Rowell were inducted posthumously into the National Cowboy Hall of Fame and Western Heritage Center in Oklahoma City. Harry is also in the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association Hall of Fame in Colorado Springs.

A few events will kick off the actual rodeo, getting the excitement levels high. With over 100 entries, The Rowell Ranch Rodeo Parade kicked off on Saturday, May 12 in downtown Castro Valley. A celebrity Team Penning and country BBQ will knock you off your socks faster than a Colt .45 at the O. K. Corral on Wednesday, May 16 at 3 p.m. Watch professional bull riding and then dance the night away on Friday, May 18 beginning at 7 p.m. And finally, Saturday and Sunday is rodeo time with the gates opening at 10 a.m.

You can't miss with an event that's been going strong for 92 years. So get your Levi's, boots (spurs optional), and cowboy hat and enjoy the weekend at the Rowell Ranch Rodeo. Please wear pink in support of breast cancer on Sunday. And keep in mind this old cowboy quote, "Never approach a bull from the front, a horse from the rear, or a fool from any direction."

For additional information and pre-rodeo events, visit Tickets can be purchased online or at the Rowell Saddlery, 3473 Castro Valley Blvd., Castro Valley, (510) 581-2577.

Rowell Ranch Rodeo
Saturday, May 19 and Sunday, May 20
Saturday, May 19 - Armed Services Day
Sunday, May 20 - "Tough Enough to Wear Pink"
10 a.m. - Gates Open
10:30 a.m. - Noon - Special Needs Rodeo
Noon - Cowboy Experience
1:30 p.m. - Grand Entry 92nd Annual Rowell Ranch Pro Rodeo
7 p.m. - Tri-Tip BBQ and Dance (Saturday only)

Dublin Canyon Road
(Between Castro Valley and Dublin, off Interstate 580)
(510) 581-2577

Reserved - $18 presale / $20 gate
General Admission - $14 presale / $16 gate
Seniors/Children - $12 presale / $14 gate
Tri Tip Dinner - $20

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