Open Ranch Rodeo Kicks Up Some Dust at Morongo

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Navajo rodeo star Derrick Begay (right) and seven-time world champion heeler, Clay O'Brien Cooper (left) of Gardnerville, NV in Team Roping

MORONGO INDIAN RESERVATION, CALIF. – Ranch-style calf roping, barrel racing and other Western events drew hundreds of spectators to the 5th Annual Open Ranch Rodeo on Saturday, Sept. 30 at the Morongo Indian Reservation in Cabazon, CA.

The free, daylong event at the Morongo Rodeo Grounds attracted dozens of riders and ropers who competed for thousands of dollars in prize money in events ranging from open and team roping to Calcutta, ribbon roping, and ranch-style steer stopping, among others. Other competitions  for younger riders included mutton busting and youth barrel racing.

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Cody Mora, Pasa Robles, CA - Ribbon Roping

“Our annual rodeo is always an exciting, family-friendly event that attracts some amazingly talented riders and ropers,” said Morongo Tribal Council Member Brian Lugo, chairman of the event.  “Our rodeo is also another opportunity for Morongo to celebrate our cultural heritage and ranching history with our tribal members and visitors.”

The 2017 Open Ranch Rodeo kicked off with opening ceremonies and rodeo competitions. In between the action, guests had the opportunity to browse craft and equestrian vendor booths, and enjoy tasty meals from a number of food booths.

“The Morongo Open Ranch Rodeo is always a great time, and it’s a good opportunity for riders of all ages to compete in a positive atmosphere while putting on a great show,” said Derrick Begay, a Navajo rodeo star who holds a world champion title from the Indian National Finals Rodeo and has won seven Wrangler National Finals Rodeo qualifications.

The rodeo was sponsored by the Morongo Band of Mission Indians and the Morongo Cultural Heritage Department.

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John Chavez, Santa Maria, CA - Ribbon Roping Emily Franklin & Franky (horse), Poway, CA - Barrel Racing Ryder Smith (age 5), Menifee, CA - Mutton Busting