BRAWLEY – Flags waved briskly atop the arena seating as Alan Jackson’s voice boomed through the speakers, “It was time for a good time.” Rodeo fans slowly filed in to a pleasantly warm , Saturday afternoon performance with cups filled with their favorite beverage and large bags of warm kettle corn. They all planned to take Jackson’s words seriously, and have a good time at the 56th annual Brawley Cattle Call Rodeo.
As perennial announcer Randy Corley’s dulcet tones beckoned all to their seats, Sal Ortiz’s call through the trumpet punctuated the start of three hours of daring-do.
The Cattle Call is either the first of the season or the end of the circuit on the road to Vegas, home of the National Finals Rodeo. That is one of the reasons that top notch cowboys and cowgirls sign up to ride thousand pound beasts, they have their eyes set on Vegas. This year, Brawley is the first stop. Those hoping to start racking up points for 2013 will be testing their mettle against the best that stock contractor Cotton Roster can throw at them.
The traditional opening act, following the royalty introductions, is the cowboys wild horse race and as announcer Corley remarked, this year the bucking horses got the glory. Not a single team was able to mount the wild ones.
Favorite clown “Charlie “Too Tall” entertained the crowd between events. Besides having the professionals riding and wrestling and racing, the show made room for the mutton busting of tomorrow’s cowboys, or at least today’s 6 year old cowkids, and for team penning, locals who regularly cowboy up and compete locally in the fast paced event of penning heads of three.
This year, a twist was added to the show, the Flying U Freestyle FMX. These two motorcycle cowboys gyrated and turned 80’ feet up in the air as their bikes zoomed off a ramp and they performed death-defying antics to the horror and delight of the crowd.
Sunday afternoon is the last show of the trio the Brawley Cattle Call Committee put on for rodeo fans. If it is too long to wait one year for the next show, there always is the National Finals in Vegas starting in December. Chances are you will see many of the same names as you do here in Brawley. And Jackson was right, it was time for a good time.