By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support great journalism.
Rodeo June 3-4 benefits free tutoring
Carol Davis, right, and Chuck Crutchfield crown Katie Butler as the first rodeo queen for the upcoming Ropin’ on the River Rodeo. The crowning took place at Friday’s 13th annual Give Every Child a Chance volunteer recognition dinner conducted at Sequoia Heights Baptist Church. - photo by HIME ROMERO
The “Ropin’ on the River Rodeo” is coming to town.

The bulls, bucking broncos and other livestock are being brought to the arena by “The Marlboro Man” Chuck Morris – who actually played that part in past television commercials.

Morris is the owner of Rockin’M rodeo Productions of Red Bluff.

The rodeo is a first as a fund raiser for Give Every Child a Chance – a rodeo that is drawing top contenders to the Dell‘Osso Family Farm in Lathrop the first weekend in June – only some six weeks away. GECAC provides free tutoring services to more than 2,400 youth.

A GECAC planning group, including its board members, vendors and volunteers, gathered at the Lathrop farm this week and were given a tour by Susan Dell‘Osso who is offering the use of her property without cost for the event.  She has also committed to hosting the rodeo in coming years, she said this week.

The group toured the Country Store where they were treated to an early dinner buffet and learned that the facility would be the center of activity for the Rodeo crowd as well.  Chuck Crutchfield narrated a slide show detailing the layout of the grounds and the variety of events that are expected to draw record crowds.

 Susan Dell‘Osso then led the planners through the grounds where she pointed out the holding pens for Clydesdale horses, and longhorns as well as the location of the rodeo grandstands that will be set up to hold 2,500 fans.

The covered railway station was also a stopping point – the prime location for VIP sponsors of $5,000 or more to watch the events unfold.  Dell ‘Osso said that next year the arena would be moved to a larger field north of the railroad station where some 5,000 fans can be accommodated.

The June 4-5 professional rodeo is sanctioned by the California Cowboy Professional Rodeo Association and is one of only two events that is offering double points to its competitors.

GECAC Executive Director Carol Davis said the rodeo promises to be packed with family entertainment featuring some of the toughest award winning livestock and rodeo athletes in the circuit.

The two days of activities encompass the sites, tastes and sounds of American Wild West traditions, she added.

Katie Butler, 24, of Oakdale has been named the rodeo queen who will reign over the event with her court of cowgirls.  Butler said she fell in love with horses at the age of three and was riding at eight.  She noted that her first horse taught her patience, balance and control as well as how to fall graciously.

In addition to riding in many horse competitions, she has served her time working cattle branding operations and other rodeo queen competitions.  

The rodeo queen was officially crowned Friday night at the Give Every Child a Chance Volunteer Dinner at the Sequoia Heights Baptist Church.

Ted Nuce, the 1985 PRCA World Championship bull rider and Ring of Honor inductee, is scheduled to make a special guest appearance at the rodeo.

A family barbecue is planned to kick-off the celebration on its opening day on the rodeo grounds that will have numerous vendors and concession booths, a Clydesdale exposition from Ripon, a petting zoo, pony rides and souvenir shopping in the Country Store along with the Dell’Osso Family Farm signature attractions that include the heralded zip lines.

Junior Barrel Racing and Mutton Bustin’ will be the two Pee Wee events – one for children 12 and under and the second for youngsters three to six and under 60 pounds.

A “Cowboy Church” service is also planned for Sunday morning under the direction of Pastor Mike Dillman.

Currently the major sponsors include Dell’Osso Family Farm, Tracy Ford, South San Joaquin Irrigation District, Magnum Equipment, Wrapped Graphics, MCR Engineering, Stages Unlimited, J.R. Simplot Co. and California Rock Crusher Corporation (Cal Crush) headquartered in Ripon.

Anyone wanting to become a part of the June 4-5 event and join the volunteer staff may call David Silveira at (209) 858-7250 or (209) 479-3910.

Parking on site is without charge as is entrance into the park and entertainment areas.  Rodeo grandstand admission is $20 for adults and $15 for children aged three to 12.  Senior tickets are also $15.

To purchase tickets, call (209) 823-6222 or visit the GECAC corporate office at 610 Commerce Court.  Tickets can also be picked up at the GECAC Educational Center at 312 Sun West Place behind city hall, at Manteca Visitors and Convention Bureau and at the Bank of Stockton on North Main Street in Manteca.