Archived Q&A and Reviews

Rodeo in the Bay Area?

April 2005

Does anyone know of any local rodeos put on during the spring or summer in the Bay area? I know there is one in Auburn but 4 hours in the car with my horse- obsessed children for a rodeo seems a bit much. Are there any rodeos held closer to Berkeley? Thank you in advance. tabitha

I grew up in Lodi, an easy and beautiful 1 1/2 hour drive from Berkeley. (out Hi 12 through the delta) A little beyond Lodi is Clements which hosts the annual Clements Stampede. I've never been but they do have a website. It's the first weekend in June. The Grand National Rodeo will be at the Cow Palance in San Francisco in April of 2006. Sally

There is a rodeo next weekend (4/23) at the Oakland Collisium. I am not sure when it starts of for how many days it is going on. liesbet

The Bill Pickett Rodeo will be here July 9th & 10th. You can email me if you need more info. Shelly

There are a bunch out Livermore-Dublin way. Rowell Ranch bwtn Dublin and Castro Valley (just off 580 - you see it from the freeway as you drive by) has a rodeo coming up next month (May 21-22) ( Livermore Rodeo is in June ( And NorCal Jr. Rodeo hosts events in Livermore and at Rowell ( if your kids would find it interesting to see other kids do rodeo stuff.

You've probably covered this already, but make sure the kids are prepared for the fact that animals sometimes appear to be treated roughly (roped and thrown down, etc.) at the rodeo. I grew up in a farming community and remember being a little scared of it as a kid. If they're at all sensitive, you might look for other ways to get close to horses, ranging from a trip to the race track to an afternoon at one of the local stables, depending on their age. JP

This isn't a rodeo, but horse loving kids would certainly enjoy the Open House on May 15th from 12 to 4 pm at Anthony Chabot Equestrian Center in the Oakland Hills. There will be a Parade of Ponies, a Trick Riding Demonstration, Jumping Demonstration and more! My horsie kids and I will be there! See Katia

Livermore has a great rodeo in June. We went a few years ago. It really is a ''fast'' rodeo which is great for kids because there isn't much down time between the action. Even if the weather is mild, buy seats in the shade!

If you can wait until October, you might also like the Grand National which is held at the Cow Palace every year. It is good because you can see a wider variety of events in two hours. It starts at 8, a little late for some kids. But it is a very good show.

I know there is a rodeo spot next to 580 going out to Pleasanton right past Castro Valley, but not sure of the name, but you could drive out there and look. I beleive that Livermore has a rodeo during the summer, you might try their chamber of commerce or something to find out more.

Or go see the horses at the end of skyline...

We hav a great time at the Bill Pickett Invitational Rodeo out at Rowell Ranch in Livermore ( It's billed as the only touring black rodeo in the country, and this year is scheduled to be here as usual the second weekend in July:

  Rowell Ranch Arena Saturday, July 9th, 2:30pm Sunday, July 10th, 2:30pm 

I think there are several other rodeo events at Rowell Ranch in the summer. Also, when I was a kid (early 70's) Golden Gate Fields had a free program for kids every saturday morning (early) during racing season. Great entertainment for horse-crazy kids if they still do something similar... Jenny

There is a rodeo called the Rowell Ranch Rodeo, that's just off 580 in Pleasanton (or is it Dublin?). It's pretty small and I don't know how often they have rodeos, but we've been before and it's pretty fun. We also went to a Gymkana in Martinez once, but for the life of me, I can't remember the name of that Ranch. There used to be a lot more horse stables around here, but I think they are mostly gone. Check under horse boarding in Fremont, Hayward, Danville (that's where I remember most of the horse stables being). People who have horses will definitly know about horse-related activities. There used to be a stable called All Seasons in Fremont. They had Dressage (english riding, if you're not familiar) classes and performances, but they're not as ''exciting'' as western riding, probably, and I think they might have torn it down to put in Frys electronics (oy!). You might want to see if the Hayward Horseman's Association still exists. We used to belong to it years ago, and I'm sure they would have lots of ideas if they're still around. Well, hope this helps! Wish my information was more up to date! I'm also a horse-lover, and now you've made me want to check into these things too! Nancy

in Livermore you can watch the parade and then go to the rodeo! 

former livermoron

Rowell Ranch Rodeo


As for rodeos, we took our 9 year old to his first rodeo last May, and he LOVED it. This particular one is pretty small and low-key, as rodeos go - we're not talking Grand National here, but it has all of the standard rodeo events - bronco riding, team roping, barrel racing, rodeo clowns, etc. It's called the Rowell Ranch Rodeo, and is located on the top of the 580 Freeway, between Castro Valley and the Dublin/Pleasanton area. We went to the Livermore Rodeo later in the summer, and didn't like it nearly as much - that one was much bigger, more commercial, etc. What I/we liked about it: small town feel, not glitzy; real local working ranchers and their families participating. There's not much marketing of souvenirs and things to buy, other than cowboy hats and rodeo pennants. The bleacher seats are pretty close to the action - you don't need binoculars. There's a small petting area where the kids can see and pet/hold some farm animals. Corny announcers (see below), rodeo clowns and their antics. One of the best parts was that before the rodeo begins, they invite all of the kids (and parents!) down into the rodeo arena (big fenced DIRT area - wear those cowboy boots!) to talk with the cowboys, cowgirls, clowns, look at the ropes and equipment, and ask questions. You learn a lot! It's also a very interesting concept for most of us urban dwellers and our kids: people within a 20-25 mile radius of Berkeley still make their livings on the ranch. Drawbacks: May is allergy season, and it can get dusty out there. Be prepared with the antihistamines and kleenex, if you're bothered by allergies. Wear a hat - it gets hot out in the sun on the unshaded bleachers. Check the prices before you go. It was a bit more than we had expected, for a local rodeo, but worth it if that's what you want to see! Expect corny jokes and non-PC announcers (yes, they *still* refer to women riding horses in a rodeo as little gals). Expect some beer drinking (Budweiser & Coors only, of course!), and Jack Daniels sponsoring some events. Finally, rodeos events being rodeo events, there is always the possibility that either the humans, the animals, or both could be injured in front of your child's eyes. Usually it's not serious, but it's best to prepare them and yourselves for that. All said, if you and your children want to take in a rodeo, this is a nice fun one to check out locally. May 20th/21st this year. Information at: