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Bull Riders and Rodeo Cowboys to Mount Up for Annual Santa Barbara Fiesta Fun

Professional bull riders and cowboys, amateur riders and junior competitors to round up this year's rodeo competition

A bull rider tries to stay in the saddle during last year’s Old Spanish Days Fiesta rodeo. The action kicks off this year with the Professional Bull Riders Touring Pro Division at 7:30 p.m. Thursday. Click to view larger
A bull rider tries to stay in the saddle during last year’s Old Spanish Days Fiesta rodeo. The action kicks off this year with the Professional Bull Riders Touring Pro Division at 7:30 p.m. Thursday. (JC Corliss / Noozhawk photo)

Bull riders, rodeo cowboys and junior horse-riders will take to the Earl Warren Showgrounds for an array of riding events as part of this week's 94th annual Old Spanish Days Fiesta.

The events have been a perennial point-of-interest during Fiesta, and both the Rodeo and Stock Horse Show date back to the very first Fiesta events in Santa Barbara. 

Below is a full list of bull-riding and rodeo events.

Professional Bull Riders (PBR) Touring Pro Division

The week’s first bull riding event, at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, will be held at the Earl Warren Showgrounds — the site of all of the Fiesta cowboy entertainment in recent memory.

Event-goers can expect to see the “greatest riders in the world,” as promised by the official Old Spanish Days website, try their best not to be bucked from their enormous animal opponents. These professional riders — who regularly compete in various events around the globe — will need to stay atop their bulls for eight seconds, as per classic bull riding rules.

Santa Barbara’s stop on the PBR Tour will ensure some formidable bull-riding talent. The top 10 riders competing are all ranked among the top 40 professional bull riders in the world. Riders Derek Kolbaba, Jess Lockwood and Chase Outlaw rank at numbers 3, 4 and 6, respectively.

Tickets can be purchased online at the Old Spanish Days website.

Autograph Session

Before the events kick off Thursday, cowboy and bull-riding fans can meet some of the top pros at Jedlicka’s, a western goods store on De La Vina Street. Attendees will be treated to an appearance by famous, makeup-clad rodeo clown Flint Rasmussen, a fan-favorite barrelman.

Professional Rodeo Cowboy Association (PRCA) Rodeo Performance

The “competencia de los vaqueros” features a broad range of different riding events. From bareback riding to barrel racing to “mutton busting” (the last of which involves junior competitors riding sheep), the first of the rodeo-based competitions will take place on Friday at 7:30 p.m. at the Showgrounds.

Cowboys from around the country make a stop in Santa Barbara each year as part of the PRCA national circuit, which shows rodeos in 37 states.

A second rodeo performance will take place Saturday at 7:30 p.m. at the Showgrounds. Tickets for each rodeo event must be purchased separately on the Old Spanish Days website.

Fiesta Stock Horse Show & Rodeo

Junior rodeo cowboys, from toddlers to teenagers, will have a chance on Friday to match the enthusiasm of their professional counterparts at the showgrounds. One free-to-attend competition at 8 a.m., and another at 12 p.m., will see the youngsters throw down in breakaway roping, tie-down roping, team roping and barrel-racing events.

Fiesta Stock Horse Show & Rodeo

Amateur cowboys will take to the showgrounds bright and early at 7 a.m. Saturday, when fans can see non-pro riders compete in steer stopping and tie-down roping. The event is free to attend.

Fiesta Stock Horse Show & Rodeo

For those who missed the professional rodeo performances, or who simply want to double down on the cowboy action, the second-to-last rodeo event will take place for free on Sunday at 8 a.m. at the showgrounds.

Final Rodeo Performance

Much like the others, this final event, on Sunday at 2 p.m., will feature cowboys competing in a diverse range of rodeo activites. As with the other paid events, tickets can be purchased at the Old Spanish Days website.

Noozhawk intern Shomik Mukherjee can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

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