Professional and Amateur Ropers Kick Up Some Dust at 9th Annual Morongo Rodeo

Riders competed for prize money and a chance to qualify for the BFI Team Roping at the free rodeo held Saturday Oct. 8 at the Morongo Indian Reservation.

MORONGO INDIAN RESERVATION – Amateur and professional ropers and riders competed for cash prizes at the 9th Annual Open Ranch Rodeo, a free family-friendly event held on Saturday, October 8 at the Morongo Indian Reservation.

For the fourth year, the rodeo featured a qualifying event for the Bob Feist Invitational (BFI) Team Roping, commonly known as ‘’The Feist,” the largest one-day annual open roping event in the country held in Reno.

“The Morongo Open Ranch Rodeo is always an exciting event,” said team roping champion Derek Begay, a nine-time Wrangler National Finals Rodeo qualifier. “I always have a great time here and it’s fun seeing all the fans come out to support the amateur and pro riders.”

The daylong rodeo at Morongo attracted dozens of riders and ropers who competed for thousands of dollars in prize money in numerous events, including open and team roping, Calcutta, ribbon roping, and ranch-style steer stopping, among others. Competitions for younger riders included mutton busting and youth barrel racing.

“Morongo’s annual rodeo is a great atmosphere for both fans and families, and we welcome ropers of all skills and ages to compete,” said Morongo Tribal Council Member Brian Lugo, the rodeo president. “Morongo has a long history of cattle ranching, and our rodeo offers a chance to honor our tribe’s past and the legacy of Indian ranching.”

Hosted by the Morongo Band of Mission Indians and the Morongo Cultural Heritage Department, the event sponsors include Southern California Edison and the Barona Resort & Casino.

“The Morongo rodeo is always a first-class event and a great chance for fans to see some of the best riders in the country, as well as some up-and-coming riders,” said Erich Rogers, World Champion Team Ropers at the 2017 National Finals Rodeo.  “It’s definitely one of my favorite stops and I look forward to it every single year.”