Thursday, February 9, 2012

Hugh Pickett's Frontier 101 Invitational Rodeo

Howdy, pardner!  I was a busy girl last weekend.  Besides OC Great Park, I also went to my first rodeo!  I got the quirky whim last year that I just had to attend a live rodeo at least once in my life.  Web searches at the time yielded nothing in SoCal, but as it always happens, I found out about this one unexpectedly when I stumbled across this list, and #53 took me to the Los Angeles Equestrian Center's calendar of events which resulted in my sitting in a front row arena seat at Hugh Pickett's Frontier 101 Invitational Rodeo!
On the day of the rodeo, I arrived at Los Angeles Equestrian Center a couple hours before it was scheduled to begin to purchase my ticket at the box office.  (I could have ordered it from Ticketmaster, but I refused out of principle to pay the outrageous $8 service fee the rip-off artists were asking for.  Anyway.)

After I purchased my ticket, I drove around Burbank to find lunch.  I didn't have a destination in mind, but I stuck to Riverside Drive which is the street where the equestrian center is situated.  Along the way, I passed several production studios, including Disney's, from which I concluded that I was headed towards the touristy areas.  I eventually hit the part of town where eateries are plenty, and a burst of nostalgia made me stop at Bob's Big Boy.  I hadn't been to a Bob's since I was a kid nor had I ever eaten at this particular location.  Unsurprisingly, it was bustling with tourists, but there was no wait for counter seating.  I ordered a pulled pork sandwich and a chocolate milkshake.  The latter came out first so I had my dessert as an appetizer.  Yum!
When I was done with lunch, I still had an hour before the rodeo.  I had purposely planned it so that I would have some time before the show since I wanted a chance to explore the equestrian center and maybe visit some horses.  Prior to my visit, I had a romantic preconception that the center would be verdant and park-like and that I could walk around and poke my head into stables and see a steady traffic of riders on horses.  Boy, was I wrong.

First of all, I encountered more dirt than lawn.  It felt almost industrial, with all the tractors and trucks parked everywhere.  No doubt I was only seeing a small portion of the equestrian center, but what I saw didn't beckon sightseeing.  Also, stable areas are not really open for random visits, to my disappointment, and I got shooed away by an employee.  Nor did I see many people on horses.  In short, I couldn't discern much to see or to do at the center if one isn't there for an event or for riding lessons.  I found a cafe and a couple of small gift and supply shops next to the box office but that was it.
horse riding supply store
Thus, I ended up being very early to the rodeo (which also happened to start a half hour late).  While I waited, I walked around the arena, watching rodeo participants warming up and staff herding cattle into pens.
getting livestock ready for the show
When the show started at last, I was figuratively chomping at the bit for some entertainment and eagerly awaited cowboys and cowgirls to demonstrate their horse-riding, cattle-wrestling, and bull-riding prowess!
opening ceremony
The rodeo was great.  It was exciting and exhilarating, and there were super funny moments, too.  Cowboys ranged from 5 years old (too cute) to senior citizens.  The horses were diverse and beautiful, and I admired the riders' ease in the saddle.
opening parade
I especially enjoyed the barrel-racing and relay race events where the horses are pushed to go their fastest, and the most adept competitors flash their horsemanship.
barrel-racing!
Pony Express relay race!
Oh, and bulls are GINORMOUS.
bull-rider
I also liked the camaraderie among the spectators.  My seatmates and I exchanged opinions about who competed well and who wasn't up to snuff.  And we agreed that the sheep-riding contest was the most hilarious part of the rodeo.
video
It was all super fun. The rodeo was scheduled to last 3.5 to 4 hours, and I tried to stick around for the whole thing, but I left at the 3-hour mark because the temperature had become so unbearably cold.  I doubt that I missed much more, though, since things were winding down by then.
"Howdy, cowboy."
I'm glad I was able to attend this event.  There aren't any other rodeos scheduled for 2012 on Los Angeles Equestrian Center's calendar so I was lucky that I found this one, and at the last minute, too!  Otherwise, I'd have had to wait another year for Hugh Pickett's Rodeo to come around again.

1 comment:

  1. Bob's Big Boy! I didn't know they were still open. I used to go there all the time with my grandma.

    Too funny to think of this all happening in Burbank.

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