CHOWCHILLA – On Friday, Mar. 13, at 10 a.m., herds of cattle take over Robertson Boulevard in a historical cattle drive.
Cowboys and cowgirls drive the cattle down the city’s main street to kick off three days of rodeo action where some of the best cowboys in the country vie for the coveted belt buckle as well as cash rewards.
Now in its 58th year, the Chowchilla Western Stampede draws top contestants in roping events to Chowchilla. The Stampede takes place each year at the Chowchilla Madera County Fairgrounds. Each season numerous entrants work hard to qualify for one of the premier roping and barrel-racing rodeos around. This season features a bigger pot, which means more competitors and much more excitement! In 2014 over 300 participants competeted in the event.
“This year, over 400 people have registered to compete. We expect this number to continue to grow up to the day of the event,” stated organizer Tom Martin.
The stampede takes place March 13-15 at the Chowchilla Fairgrounds indoor arena. Spectators and participants alike enjoy high energy steer roping, barrel races and much more. Multiple roping competitions occur each day. Kids 17 and under strive for buckles, ribbons and prizes in the Gymkhana on Sunday at 1 p.m. This season organizers have waived entry fees for the Gymkhana.
“We want everyone to have the opportunity to participate,” said Tom Martin, “Entry fees can add up quickly and we want to make sure all kids can enter if they would like to.”
One of very few events left like this in the nation, the Chowchilla Western Stampede brings together locals and visitors alike and serves as a rich part of Chowchilla’s heritage as well as a lot of fun.
“To see hundreds of cattle walking down the street is certainly one of those moments that stick out in your memory,” said Jarrod Lyman. “One can imagine that it’s kind of like looking into the past at what life was like in these western towns many, many years ago.”
The cattle drive will make its way down Robertson Boulevard starting at 10 a.m. on Friday. All other rodeo activities take place at the indoor arena at the Chowchilla Madera County Fairgrounds. The rodeo is conveniently located in Madera County, known as California’s gateway to Yosemite. For more information, click here.