BRAWLEY — Sal Ortiz’s trumpet Call to Post harkened rodeo fans to find their seats as the 60th annual Brawley Cattle Call started in a big way with the crowd looking up to see a giant Ol’ Glory floating down from the heavens accompanied by a sky diver as he circled the overflowing arena to land dead center in the middle of the grounds.
Cotton Rosser and his Flying U company once again brought a first class professional show to the Valley, with bucking horses, steer-wrestling cowboys, and wickedly fast barrel racers.
“We have never made it to Brawley for the rodeo before,” said a Borrego Springs resident. “It’s fabulous! We’ll be back next year, for sure.”
Team penning by locals, a crowd favorite, excited the audience as in unison as they participated by shouting warnings to the riders of returning cattle or an impending stampede. This year, Dale Griggs and Janice Sudduth, both of Brawley, along with Duane Dockstader of Calipatria, took home the coveted team penning buckle by posting winning times during for two of the three performances. Travis Dove, Denny and Trevor Burch won the Sunday afternoon by posting quickest time penning three cattle.
An added attraction was Frenchman Manu Lataste who showed off his extreme athletic talent by jumping Mexican fighting bulls. The young Frenchman wowed the crowd by antagonizing the bull until he charged. Fearless, Lataste charged the bull in return, and then at the last minute, vaulted over the running bull who suddenly had no target for his rage.
Saturday night’s attendance once again broke records as standing room only tickets were issued. Brawley’s Cattle Call is one of the first rodeos in the country on the 2017 road to the National Rodeo Finals held in Las Vegas.