Speaking about the history of the Rodeo CA, we should make mention of its precursor the Sausal Park Race Track, donated to the city of Salinas in 1872. Races and a fair were to be held at least every two years, otherwise the property would be returned to the former owners. In 1875 the Monterey Fair Association was established and several months later the city hosted three days of the horse racing. In 1910 the informal club "Salinas Coyotes" held the first show in a baseball park on West Market Street.
Critically acclaimed, it was moved to a race track in Sherwood Park for better facilities. In August 1911 the race track grounds hosted the first rodeo, advertised as the Wild West Show. Running for a whole week, the event was called "Big Week" and "California Rodeo", better known as Rodeo CA, with the both names having been used ever after to refer to the show.
Among the pioneers of the Rodeo CA were Sam Matthews, E. Abbott, Arthur Hebbron, John Bryan, Julius Trescony, W. Lynch, J. Redmond and others. Initiated the same year was the horse parade, led down Main Street by the grand participant of the Rodeo CA James Hebbron, leading every parade from 1911 throughout 1936. The 1912 Wild West Show was even more enthusiastically received, featuring some introductions and innovations. The latter included the involvement of cowgirls, competing in the cowgirls bucking contest.
The attendance in 1912 totaled 4,000. In the years that followed the organizers and leaders of the show made attempts to legitimize the Rodeo CA and make it permanent. In 1934 the program of the show was expanded to include more than 20 events and the parade got its name "El Colmado del Rodeo", referred to as "Colmo". During the period of 1936-1942 the directors of the rodeo make a series of improvements, including building new barns and corrals and enlarging stands together with capital improvements. In 1947 agreements were formalized by the City and the Rodeo Corporation with the signing of a ten-year lease, which was renewed several times.
More than fourteen acres of land purchased by the Rodeo were transferred to the City for some additional recreational activities. In 1979 the California Rodeo Historical Committee was formed, aimed at preserving the history of the Rodeo CA. Thus, the visitors can take advantage of the museum, featuring a great amount of the Rodeo-related historical memorabilia.
Today Rodeo CA is an event of particular importance, drawing huge crowds of visitors from both the United States and abroad. Current bullfighters include Matt Lucking, Andy Burelle, Dan Newman, Casey Wells and Don "Hollywood" Yates, participating in the following events: Great Bulls of Fire, Cowboy Poetry, Kiddie Kapers Parade, California Rodeo Cowboy Shoot out Golf Tournament, California Rodeo Salinas Daily Horse Parade, Rodeo Carnival and Industrial Calf Dressing. The price of the season tickets ranges from $12 to $76, depending on a section and time of purchase. In addition, visitors are offered a number of trade shows, held annually in the nearby locales.