Eleven Days of Red Bluff Round-Up
● By Melissa Mendonca
It’s the Broncs AND the Blood, It’s the Steers AND the Mud
By Melissa Mendonca
WHILE RED BLUFF signature professional rodeo offers three thrilling days of the sport, locals are fond of saying there are actually 11 days of Round-Up. The celebrations start early and happen often in anticipation of the city’s greatest annual springtime event.
The town lives and breathes Western culture year round, but in the wind up to Round-Up, you’ll notice people kicking it up a notch. Business people who tend to don suits and ties suddenly show up to work in pressed Wranglers and cowboy shirts. Cowboy boots get an annual shine and storefronts are decorated to the nines in Western theme. Shop owners vie for coveted awards bestowed at a kick-off breakfast. It’s fitting that the 11 days start out with Cowboy Coffee on April 12 at Red Bluff Dodge. It’s needed to keep going for the wild and wooly days ahead.
The community competition heats up downtown on Saturday, April 14 with a chili cookoff that has become famous in its own right. The legacy of chili champions Ron and Shirley Judson, the event brings members of the International Chili Society to compete for a spot at a regional championship in categories of chili, chili verde and salsa. Alongside them will be local cooks, many of whom fancy themselves professionals, vying for people’s favorite awards. Bribes are frequently offered by those seeking coveted voting tickets. Election years tend to draw out contestants, with those seeking visibility for their campaigns putting on aprons and getting serious about their chili recipes. The public is invited to sample from all cooks, with the $5 tasting kit supporting local scholarships through Red Bluff Rotary. A car show complements the food booths and other vendors.
On Tuesday, April 17 at noon, the party moves to the Tehama District Fairgrounds for the Think Pink Luncheon sponsored by the Red Bluff Rotary. “It’s just a great event that I’m really proud to be part of, especially as a breast cancer survivor,” says Vicki Stroud, Rotarian and director of the Red Bluff - Tehama County Chamber of Commerce. Originally set at the Growney Ranch, the tri-tip lunch and auction with live music has outgrown the venue and had to move to the fairgrounds. Proceeds from the event benefit the quest for St. Elizabeth Hospital to obtain a 3D mammography machine. World Champion Barrel Racer Nellie Miller has donated an autographed clothing item for the auction.
Things get a little less altruistic a few nights later when the PRCA cowboys come to town and mingle with the locals at the Cowboy Mixer held at Reynolds Ranch and Farm Supply. Straw bales are set out for seating, but most eventually find themselves on the dance floor. The Tehama County Cattle Women cook up steak fajita wraps which can be held in one hand while a drink is held in the other. While most events in the 11-day lineup are family friendly, this is not. The party starts at 5:30pm. Entrance badges are available in advance at The Loft, Palomino Room and Red Bluff Chamber of Commerce.
The next morning, cowboys and gentlemen, along with their female counterparts, find their way to Wilcox Golf Course for the Cowboy Golf Tournament sponsored by the Chamber of Commerce. PRCA cowboys register for free and are assigned to community teams of four. Registration forms are available online at www.redbluffchamber.com. A shotgun start sets clubs in motion at 9am on Friday, April 20.
This year’s Round-Up parade celebrates the Home Town Champions along Main Street, and honors Nellie Miller as Grand Marshal. The Red Bluff Round-Up itself has been inducted into the Pro Rodeo Hall of Fame, along with local bull fighter Joe Baumgartner. Famed bucking bull Red Rock was inducted in 1979, owned by Growney Brothers Rodeo Company of Red Bluff. The public is invited to bring lawn chairs for the parade, which gathers a crowd throughout downtown and begins at 10am. Fill up on pancakes at the Elks Lodge beforehand for an annual breakfast hosted by the Red Bluff Kiwanis Club starting at 7am.
Finally, for those interested in rodeo itself, regular events are held Friday, April 19 at 7pm, Saturday, April 20 at 2:30pm and Sunday, April 21 at 1:30pm at the Tehama District Fairgrounds. Nashville recording artists Chris Lane and Morgan Wallen perform at 6:30pm on Saturday night at the fairgrounds. Events often sell out, so advance purchase is recommended.
Everyone’s a cowboy in Red Bluff during the Eleven Days of Round-Up, so shine up your boots and join the community in a fun-filled line up of activity. •
Thursday, April 12
Saturday, April 14
Red Bluff Round-Up Chili
Cook-Off and Car Show
Tuesday, April 17
Tough Enough to Wear Pink
Wednesday, April 18
10:00 AM: PRCA Timed Event Slack #1
2:00 PM: Bud Light 3000
Thursday, April 19
10:00 AM: PRCA Timed Event Slack #2
5:30 PM: Chamber Mixer
Friday, April 20
8:00 AM: Cowboy Golf Tournament
10:00 AM: WPRA Barrel Racing Slack
6:30 PM: Mutton Busting
7:00 PM: Red Bluff Round-Up
Saturday, April 21
7:00 AM: Pancake Breakfast
2:30 PM: Red Bluff Round-Up
6:30 PM: Red Bluff Round-Up
Saturday Night Concert
Sunday, April 22
10:00 AM: Cowboy Church
1:30 PM: Red Bluff Round-Up
PRCA RodeoWild Ride