New officer and directors were also announced at annual dinner
SALINAS, CA – Dave Pedrazzi is now the 34th president of the California Rodeo Salinas. He is a local farmer and cattle rancher who grew up in the Salinas Valley and has been active in many organizations such as the Buena Vista Grange and Monterey County Cattlemen’s Association. Dave’s love for the Rodeo was instilled in him by his father, Pete, who was also President of the California Rodeo Salinas 33 years ago. Dave and Pete are one of only four pairs of father-son Rodeo Presidents, joining the Eastman, Leach and Grainger families in that unique honor. Dave has been volunteering at the Rodeo for over 40 years and held the position of Track Director before becoming an Officer. His presidency became official at the annual stockholders dinner held on October 17th where new Officers, Directors, Advisory Directors and outstanding volunteers were also recognized.
The six Officer positions of the California Rodeo Salinas consist of the President, 1st, 2nd and 3rd Vice Presidents, Treasurer and Secretary. The 1st Vice President is now Fred Hooker, 2nd Vice President is Steve Davis and Bob Eggers moves from the Secretary position to 3rd Vice President for the 2019-2020 year. Henry Dill is the newest Officer as he fills the Secretary role. He is also the Track Director. Tom Nielsen remains as the Treasurer for the organization. The newest Directors of the organization are Ashley Baker and Braden Hoover. Brian Contreras, Sr. and Neil Milburn move from Director to Advisory Director roles. David Drew is the newest Honorary Director. All of these individuals were honored at the recent dinner along with the Committee Person of the Year, Randy Leighton, and Gold Saddleman award recipient, Jerry Bunker. Full biographies for these individuals follow.
Dave Pedrazzi – President
Dave Pedrazzi is a fourth-generation rancher and farmer. He is very proud to operate on the same property in the Buena Vista area where his great grandfather settled over one hundred years ago. He has always had a passion for the outdoors and the ranching way of life. Dave began his schooling at the two room Buena Vista school of River Road that his grandfather and father attended. Later, he graduated from Salinas High School. During his grade school and high school years, he was active in both Buena Vista 4-H and Salinas High FFA. He attended college at Hartnell and Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, and shortly after returning home from college went to work on his family’s ranch. In 1974 he married Debbie Ferreira. Together they raised 3 children, who have all grown up working on the ranch and continue to do so today, and their 7 grandchildren will be the 6th generation of Pedrazzis to work the ranch.
Dave has always found time to volunteer in different organizations including the Buena Vista 4-H as a project leader and District 4 High School Rodeo Association. He is also the past president of the Gonzales Young Farmers and past master of the Buena Vista Grange. He continues to be involved in the Monterey County Cattleman’s Association, where he has served on their board of directors and was named the Monterey County Cattleman of the Year in 2017.
The California Rodeo Salinas has always been an important part of Dave’s life and he has been volunteering on the track committee for over forty years. He became a director in 1985, was Track Director for six years and then, in 2014, became 3rd Vice President. He also proudly wears a California Rodeo Salinas buckle that he won in the Committee Team Roping Competition.
Bob Eggers – 3rd Vice President
Bob Eggers has been a volunteer at the California Rodeo for 24 years. Bob’s love for his community is a driving factor behind his love for volunteering at the California Rodeo and he is proud to be a part of an organization that gives back. Bob has served as Secretary the past two years and now accepts the position of 3rd Vice President. Bob and his wife Kay live in Salinas and have two children, Mitchell and Carly.
Henry Dill – Secretary
Henry Dill began volunteering in 2002 on the Announcing Committee. He later became a Director and Chairman of the Announcing Committee and then became involved in show production and coordination. He is currently the Rodeo’s Track Director and has served on the Nomination, Executive and Budget committees. Henry was born and raised in Salinas and lives in the San Benancio area of Salinas with his wife Lisa Jo; they have three children, a son, Henry (Amy) along with grandkids, Katy and Hank; daughter, Natalie (Jason Prader) and son, Sam.
Ashley Baker – Director
Ashley Baker began volunteering at the age of 14 on the Concessions Committee. Sixteen years later and she is now a vital part of that committee, managing the non-profit groups’ involvement for all events that the California Rodeo produces. Ashely was born and raised in Salinas and continues to live here with her husband, Cody, who she met at the California Rodeo in 2009. They have two boys, Jared and Maverick, who love to help their mom at all the Rodeo Association events.
Braden Hoover – Director
Braden Hoover began volunteering in 2006 and is currently the Vice Chair of the Track Committee, following in the footsteps of his father-in-law Dave Pedrazzi. Braden enjoys the Rodeo fraternity and is proud to volunteer and keep the family tradition at the Rodeo alive. Braden currently lives in Salinas, but hails from a small town called Oraloma, located between Los Banos, Dos Palos and Firebaugh, California. He lives in Salinas with his wife, Nette Pedrazzi Hoover, and their three children Corbin, Bryce and Avery.
Brian Contreras, Sr. – Advisory Director
Brian K. Contreras, Sr. began his volunteering at the California Rodeo in 1991 as a member of the 2nd Chance Youth Program running a concession booth as a local non-profit. He was later a part of the “fire-watch crew” under the wooden grandstands before he officially joined the Grandstands Committee in 1994; he became Chairman of that committee in 2002. Brian went on to help with Monster Trucks, Bull Crossing and other important roles within the organization. Brian is originally from Modesto, lives in Salinas with his wife Anna, and is semi-retired, but continues to work in the nonprofit industry, mostly with the 2nd Chance Youth Program. He is proud to have 3 of his children follow in his footsteps and volunteer at the California Rodeo.
Neil Milburn – Advisory Director
Neil grew up across the street from the California Rodeo and started volunteering in 1967 when he was a Boy Scout by taking people to their seats. In 1990 he started volunteering with the Pageant of Flags Committee which he chaired for 10 years. Neil then moved to the Sponsor Committee and was the Chairman for 20 years. Neil is a founding partner of Church Brothers/True Leaf farms and was a partner at River Ranch before the company sold in 1994. He has been married to Lisa Milburn since 2003 and they have one son, Lucas. Neil also has two older sons, Kyle and Evan.
David Drew – Honorary Director
David Drew has been around the California Rodeo since he was a child and is now a large part of one of the most popular events of the year, the Rodeo Kick Off Concert. Year after year, David works to bring A-list entertainers like Brad Paisley, Tim McGraw, The Eagles and more to Salinas. He’s been coming to the Rodeo since he was a boy and says it’s been such a big part of his life and the history of Salinas that he wants to continue to preserve that history. He’s a fifth generation Salinan and is the owner of Drew-Massa Transportation. He has two step daughters Jordan and Nicole.
Randy Leighton – Committee Person of the Year
Randy has been volunteering on the Track Committee at the California Rodeo since 1989. Randy is a skilled horseman and knowledgeable about livestock, making him a natural fit and vital part of the committee. After moving to the San Joaquin Valley, Randy drives over 160 miles round trip to and from the Rodeo each day with over 640 miles driven in just 2019. He’s had four spinal surgeries, two taking place near the 2018 Rodeo, one before and one after yet he has never missed a rodeo performance. Randy is the proud owner of two Salinas Buckles both won in the team penning event, one in 1990 and the second 10 years later in 2000. He enjoys the comradery between old friends and old cowboys that the California Rodeo has steeped in its roots, one of the many reasons he continues to volunteer his time each year.
Jerry Bunker – Gold Saddleman Recipient
Jerry began his California Rodeo career in 1981 and was a longtime member and Chairman of the Industrial Calf Dressing Committee. He became a Director in 2006. For the past 11 years Jerry has overseen the logistics and planning of the daily Rodeo operations. In 2014, Jerry was formally appointed the Director of Logistics. He has assumed full responsibility for important aspects such as parking, track crossing and the newly proposed bridge project. Jerry lives in Salinas with his wife Judy and their two grandchildren, Jaden and Chloe.
Save the date for the 110th California Rodeo Salinas July 16th-19th, 2020. ‘Like’ the California Rodeo on Facebook at www.facebook.com/CARodeoSalinas to receive alerts. Follow the Rodeo on Instagram (@carodeosalinas) and twitter (@CaliforniaRodeo) for updates, photos and more.