BRAWLEY — This year’s Cattle Call Rodeo will take place at Cattle Call Arena November 14 and 15, but it will be held without attendees, a decision reached by the Rodeo Committee recently and supported by the City of Brawley and Imperial County, according to a press release.
The Rodeo Committee is working on plans to have the rodeo livestreamed.
The decision to hold the rodeo without attendees comes amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. While the Imperial Valley has seen a reduction in the surge of coronavirus cases, allowing the County to move into a stage of recovery that allows more businesses to open under strict guidelines, the Rodeo Committee realized November is too soon to hold a large spectator event.
“We could see that with the way the pandemic was going through the Valley, there was no way we’d be at Stage 4, which is the level we’d have to be at to have a large gathering, like the rodeo” said Carson Kalin, chairman of the Rodeo Committee.
However, he said the Rodeo Committee decided it was important to continue to have the rodeo — even if it meant no attendees and no ticket sales to help cover costs.
“It’s one of the largest events held in the Valley, and we just couldn’t go without it,” Kalin said.
According to the release, the rodeo will be held under strict guidelines established by the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association COVID-19 guidelines. Kalin said those guidelines were submitted to the City of Brawley and Imperial County — both of which gave their support to hold the rodeo without attendees.
“We understand that this year has required and continues to require many sacrifices in the name of protecting the health and safety of our community,” stated Stephen Munday, Imperial County health officer. “We’re pleased that despite challenges, the Cattle Call Rodeo Committee is actively seeking out ways that the public can still observe this tradition in a way that is safe for all involved.”
To try to ensure rodeo enthusiasts have some access to view Cattle Call Rodeo, the Rodeo Committee is in talks with The Cowboy Channel to air all three rodeo performances.
This year represents the 64th annual Cattle Call Rodeo, which celebrates the Imperial Valley’s Western heritage and the spirit of the Valley’s pioneers.
The release stated the rodeo remains one of the only professional sporting events held in the Imperial Valley, and throughout its long history has been an event that brings together the entire Valley for a sporting and entertainment event that can be enjoyed by those of all ages.
Cattle Call Rodeo also continues to be an important event for the professional cowboys and cowgirls of rodeo who compete at the Brawley rodeo on their way to reach the National Finals held in Las Vegas each year.
Kalin said this years’ rodeo, like every year throughout the rodeo’s history, is possible thanks to the community support. Despite moving forward without attendees, local businesses are already coming forward with generous sponsorships just as they have every year to help with some of the $200,000 cost of putting on the rodeo.
This year, the sponsorships became even more critical with the loss of ticket sales, and Kalin said he is thankful for those sponsors continuing to support the rodeo.
“Our long-term sponsors that we’ve had 30-plus years are once again stepping up to make this possible,” Kalin said.
He added, “I’m always so impressed with the generosity of our sponsors and our community donations here in the Imperial Valley, but especially this year when we know they are willing to step up and still make that commitment even though they could be suffering the same kind of losses that the rodeo has,” Kalin said. “To see our community come together to help continue this our 64th year means all that much more.”
He did voice concern for one additional loss as a result of not having attendees this year. For a number of non-profit groups, the rodeo serves as a major fund-raising event, but this year that will not be possible since vendors — both non-profit and for-profit — will not be able to participate. The hope, he said, is that next year, the rodeo will again be available to the public as is the tradition of rodeo.
For more information, contact Kalin at (760) 455-1397. If interested in sponsoring or donating to this years’ rodeo, contact the Rodeo Committee and Sponsor Chairman Larry Allen at (760) 427-2980.