Cowboys and cowgirls of all ages strapped on their spurs and saddled up their horses Thursday for the start of the 89th annual Fiesta Stock Horse Show & Rodeo in Santa Barbara.
Youngsters showed off their horse-handling skills in events such as ribbon jerking (dismounting one’s horse and pulling a ribbon from the tail of a goat) and keyhole (riding along a narrow, painted path and stopping in a designated area while being timed).
Susan Eggert of Camarillo brought her grandson to compete in his first-ever rodeo.
Eggert said the boy had the time of his life riding “Smartie” and competing in the 7-and-under single stake and ribbon jerking.
“We love it,” she said. “We’ll definitely be back next year.”
It was certainly a family affair at Earl Warren Showgrounds.
Donnie Miller has been participating in the rodeo for many years, but didn’t enter either arena this time around.
“It’s just the kids this year,” said Miller, whose 7-year-old son, Lane, is competing for the first time in Santa Barbara.
Lane is no stranger to the saddle, however. He’s a seasoned veteran, having started riding horses at the ripe old age of 3.
He competed in keyhole and ribbon jerking.
On Thursday night, daring riders were scheduled to mount larger, meaner stock in the Professional Bull Riding competition at 7:30 p.m.
The rodeo will continue throughout the weekend, with advanced rounds and even more events.
Rodeo fans can look forward to barrel racing, team roping, steer stopping and fan favorite "mutton busting," where cowboys and cowgirls age 4 or older will test their strength and courage on the backs of sheep.
Click here for more information about the Fiesta Stock Horse Show & Rodeo.