Unlike the past two years the Professional Bull Riders competition in Pala will not take place in May.
This year’s Oct. 6 to 7 date was a factor of the calendar and stock availability. While the change in date may be an adjustment for local bull riding fans, it also eliminates the conflict with the Ramona Rodeo which was the case in 2010 and 2011.
Schedule considerations for a May rodeo include Memorial Day weekend and whether there are five or four weekends in the month. The availability of a stock contractor or other contract personnel can also be a factor.
The Flying U Rodeo Company has provided the stock for the Pala PBR since its 2010 debut. The 2010 bull riding at Pala took place May 22-23 while the 2011 competition was held May 21-22.
In 2010 and 2011 there were five weekends in May. This year there were four weekends. “That’s what messed us up,” said Cotton Rosser of the Flying U Rodeo Company. “I have Hayward and Las Vegas the same weekend.”
This year five nearby Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association competitions were held the weekend of May 18 to 20: the Ramona Rodeo, the Redding Rodeo, the Rowell Ranch Rodeo in Hayward, Las Vegas Helldorado Days, and the Gary Hardt Memorial Rodeo in Payson, Arizona. Flying U is the stock contractor for Helldorado Days, Rowell Ranch Rodeo, and the local PBR event. Rosser noted that stock contractor equipment considerations as well as animal availability necessitated the calendar move for the Pala competition. “All the equipment from Las Vegas goes right into Pala,” he said of past rodeos.
Scheduling rodeos can be a balance. The presence of nearby rodeos will likely attract cowboys and cowgirls who will have multiple opportunities on the same trip to receive a check, although if a major rodeo is too far away top competitors may forego the lower-payout rodeo. If two rodeos are close together fans may have to choose between one or the other, or they can attend some performances of both.
In 2010 Ramona was the only PRCA-sanctioned rodeo in California during the May 21 to 23 weekend, so the PBR event across the parking lot from Pala Casino allowed bull riders the opportunity to participate in two San Diego County rodeos on the same weekend. Last year the Redding and Hayward rodeos joined Ramona and the PBR in Pala as being on the weekend of May 20 to 22 while the 2011 Helldorado Days rodeo took place the previous weekend.
The reduction of May weekends from the past two years provided Ramona with the opportunity to coincide with more nearby rodeos. “It’s a fantastic recipe for good contestant turnout,” said Ramona rodeo committee member Kayla Duba. “Any time you’ve got rodeos within 300 miles of each other those cowboys are going to go.”
The presence of only one San Diego County rodeo activity that weekend in May eliminated a dilemma for rodeo fans while the PBR move to October still gives bull riders two Southern California events that weekend. The only other PRCA rodeo in California the week of the Pala PBR is the Oct. 6 to 7 San Dimas Western Days Rodeo, where Growney Brothers will provide the stock. Flying U is the stock contractor for the following week’s Industry Hills Charity Pro Rodeo.