SANTA BARBARA, Calif. – While the celebratory events and traditions of Old Spanish Days wrap up this year, one event dating back to 1924 still captures the imagination of locals, the Fiesta Stock Horse Show and Rodeo.
Once called the "competencia de vaqueros" and hosted for a single day at Pershing Park, the horse show and rodeo now is a multi-day series of events and professional competitions at the Earl Warren Showgrounds.
The full professional rodeo began at the Earl Warren Showgrounds in 1958 and has been there every year since.
"It's in a small coliseum, there's not very many rodeos like this anywhere else in the world," explains Rodeo announcer Dru Stewart. "It's very intimate, it's very cool."
Each year an Honorary Vaquero is selected to celebrate the impact they have had on the community.
Rounding up herds of cattle on a distant plain sounds more like a movie, but the Rodeo hopes to honor the very people who have preserved those traditions and enriched the community around them for the next generation.
That consistency has had an impact on local Tri-County riders and fans alike. "We're building tradition and breaking records," said Rodeo Chairman Anselmo Ramirez.
Organizers for next year's 100th anniversary hope to continue to preserve and build on the traditions that have been such an integral part of Santa Barbara's history.
Ramirez explained, "It's a lot of work, a lot of volunteer hours, but we're doing it for our community and for our new youth."