The Stanislaus County Fairgrounds may have looked more like a scene from the Wild West this week as thousands of people gathered at the fairground arena for the 2013 California Finals hosted by the American Cowboy Team Roping Association.
Running Thursday through Sunday, the four day event brought in a number of roping events for ACTRA members to compete in. Winners from this weekend’s events will continue on to the National Finals in Reno, Nev.
“There’s a little bit of everything for everybody,” said ACTRA President Bob Blair. “It’s a big event with vendors on sight with all kinds of goodies and merchandise.”
In the events, two riders work together to quickly rope a steer with one rider focusing on roping the neck or horns, known as the “header,” while the other rider ropes the hind feet, otherwise known as the “heeler.”
Bringing in about 2,000 people, the ACTRA California chapter finals will have an estimated payout of over $300,000 in cash and prizes.
According to Blair, this is the third year the ACTRA has held the California chapter finals in Turlock and the organization will continue to do so for at least two more years as contracted.
The national organization currently has an estimated 6,000 members, with approximately 2,100 of those residing in California.
“Saturday will be our longest day,” said ACTRA Business Manager Mike Sweeney. “We’re also holding an all-girls roping event at the end of the day, which is kind of unique.”
The event is free for observers and open to the public. Roping events will take place from 8:30 a.m. to 8 p.m. today, and 8:30 a.m. to noon on Sunday.