For the past 55 years the Folsom Pro Rodeo has entertained generations of Sacramento audiences every 4th of July weekend with wild rodeo events, concerts, barbecue and fireworks.
Every evening from July 2-4, thousands gathered at the newly renamed Digger and Sharon Williams Rodeo Park (formerly known as Rodeo Park). In recent years, the rodeo kicks off its 3-day event with the Folsom Cattle Drive the evening before the event officially begins. The drive passes through the streets of Folsom and ends at Historic Sutter Street. This year however, as also happened two years ago, the cattle drive was canceled due to 100+ degree weather.
Rodeo events included Bareback Bronc Riding, Bull Riding, Calf Roping, Saddle Bronc Riding, Steer Roping and Team Roping.
A Mutton Busting event also took place in which participants were five or six years old. The object was for the kids to ride sheep in the arena and stay on as long and far as they could. Another children’s event allowed kids to enter the arena and dig around for silver dollars placed in the area.
Food vendors gave attendees multiple food options throughout the arena, but a natural favorite is barbecue and ice-cold drinks. Cowboy oriented merchandise was also sold at various vendor booths.
The rodeo is sanctioned by the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association (PRCA), the largest and oldest rodeo-sanctioning body in the world. Various events held at the rodeo counted toward the PRCA participants’ annual earnings.
Contestants in the Folsom Pro Rodeo, like other professional sports, are paid when they win their event. But unlike other pro-sports, they don’t get paid if they don’t place high enough to win. The PA announcer reminded fans from time to time to cheer for the contestants after each event as that might be the only reward they would get that evening.
I’m not sure how long the professional career of a pro rodeo cowboy is, but, as audience members quickly learned, it is a brutal sport. Several injuries occurred throughout the evenings, but the skill of all the pro rodeo cowboys is something to applaud.
Another popular group participating at the rodeo were the Painted Ladies Rodeo Performers. The beauty and skill of the Painted Ladies had the audience roaring in approval as they showcased their horses and riding skills at their hometown rodeo.
Each evening concluded with a nightly performance from the Flying Rodeo Cowboys FMX, who showed off their motocross skills.
No 4th of July would be complete without the holiday must: fireworks. A spectacular fireworks display lasted nearly half hour every evening of the event.
And the fun didn’t end after an explosive ending. Live music played at Mike’s Golden Spike Saloon at the bottom level of the rodeo with Dave Russell providing further entertainment.
During the rodeo, patriotism was quite evident as red, white and blue flew over the skies and was displayed all around the arena and prominent in clothes worn by fans.
Don’t miss your chance to experience this special piece of Americana at next year’s 4th of July weekend Folsom Pro Rodeo.