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.
Pony Express relay race!
Oh, and bulls are GINORMOUS.
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.
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.