CHOWCHILLA – If you’re in the area of Chowchilla’s Robertson Boulevard on Friday, Apr. 5, you may see a few hundred head of cattle making their way down the city’s main boulevard.
Don’t worry, however. It’s not the scene of some bizarre accident; it’s the kick off for the 56th annual Chowchilla Western Stampede.The Stampede is a long-running rodeo that takes place each year at the Chowchilla Madera County Fairgrounds. There have already been numerous qualifier events leading up to the big rodeo, which is considered one of the premier roping and barrel racing contests in the region.
“The Stampede is a great event that brings friends and neighbors together from all over,” says Chowchilla Mayor Dennis Haworth. “This annual event is part of Chowchilla’s heritage and a lot of fun. It is something that locals and visitors alike look forward to each year.”
The excitement begins with the annual cattle drive down Robertson Boulevard, definitely a unique way kick off an event.
What was once a commonplace occurrence in rodeo towns, is now only one of three events like it nationwide.
“To see hundreds of cattle walking down the street is certainly one of those moments that sticks in your memory,” said Jarrod Lyman of the Yosemite Sierra Visitors Bureau.
“One can imagine that it’s kind of like looking back into the past, and seeing what life was like in these western towns many, many years ago,” he said.
The cattle drive, which starts at 10 a.m. on Friday, is followed by three days of rodeo action at the indoor arena at the Chowchilla Madera County Fairgrounds, where some of the best competitors vie for the coveted belt buckle and cash prizes.
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