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Let’s Rodeo

Locals are among the 500+ cowboys and cowgirls heading to Red Bluff

Let's Rodeo Red Bluff

Zack Brown rides a bareback horse at the 2014 Red Bluff Round-Up. The Red Bluff man will ride on Saturday, April 16 at the Round-Up. Photo by Dustin Olson.

Red Bluff, Calif. (April 11, 2016) – This weekend, Red Bluff becomes the focus of the pro rodeo world.

That’s because the 95th annual Red Bluff Round-Up kicks off, with 504 cowboys and cowgirls competing in the seven standard rodeo events.

Among them are world champions, young-gun contenders, and some Red Bluff folks.

Zack Brown, a bareback rider who was raised in Red Bluff, will ride on Saturday afternoon. Jared Ferguson, who ranches outside Cottonwood, will tie-down rope in slack on Wednesday and Thursday. Both of them look forward to their hometown rodeo.

Brown, who is 25 years old, competed in high school and college rodeo and got his business management degree from the University of Nevada-Las Vegas in 2013. He does sales and marketing for Girls with Guns, a Red Bluff clothing retailer. This year, his goal is what every cowboy and cowgirl dreams of: making the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo in December, where the top fifteen in each event compete for a world championship. His boss, who grew up rodeoing, understands what it takes to go down the rodeo road and allows him to work from the road.

Rodeo can be a tough sport, and Brown has had his share of injuries. He’s broken his arm, leg, ribs, had ACL surgery, “bumps and bruises along the way,” he calls them. Bareback horses can weigh up to 1200 lbs. and pairing up with one isn’t always easy. “When you’re dealing with something that has its own mind, you never know what’s going to happen, and sometimes things get in a situation that you can’t control. Sometimes you end up all right, sometimes you have to pay a little bit for it.”

Jared Ferguson competes at the other end of the arena, in the tie-down roping. The 28 year old rancher moved to Cottonwood about fifteen years ago, and has competed at the Round-Up every year since he was nineteen. As a tie-down roper, he will compete once on Wednesday and again on Thursday in slack, with the fastest 24 cowboys going on to compete again on Friday or Saturday nights, and from those 24, the fastest twelve competing for a fourth time on Sunday. Last year, he won second place in the first round.

The Round-Up is the biggest pro rodeo taking place this weekend in the nation and the only rodeo in California, and because of that, it’s more laid-back for contestants. “It’s pretty rare, on the rodeo trail,” Ferguson said, for contestants to come to one rodeo and stay the entire weekend ‘You get to go and relax. There’s no other rodeos to go to, and you don’t have to drive somewhere else, you get to hang out, which is what makes it so special.”

Ferguson takes in some of the Eleven Days activities surrounding the Round-Up. “There are a lot of events that go on around (the rodeo). The whole town turns out, and they take a little break themselves. If there’s somebody you haven’t seen in a while, you’ll run into them” during Round-Up.

Ferguson graduated from West Valley High School in Cottonwood in 2005. He is married to Ashley. Brown is the son of Doug and Jennifer Brown.

Other local cowboys and cowgirl competing at the Round-Up include Cottonwood’s Justin Davis (team roping), Nellie Williams Miller, Sissy Morse and Ileah Roquemore (barrel racing), and Gerber’s Kristen Holt (barrel racing) and Dan Williams, Jr. (team roping)

The Round-Up takes place on April 15-16-17, with performances beginning at 7 pm on April 15, 2:30 pm on April 16, and 1:30 pm on April 17. Slack for the steer wrestling, tie-down roping and team roping begins at 10 am on April 13-14 and for the barrel racing, at 10 am on April 15. Slack is free to the public.

Tickets are still available and can be purchased online at RedBluffRoundup.com, at the Round-Up office (670 Antelope Boulevard) and at the gate.