The Rancho Mission Viejo Rodeo will celebrate 19 years of elevated rodeo competition on August 24 and August 25 at the Rancho Mission Viejo Riding Park. Featuring the best of the best cowboys from across the world, the top 30 contestants will compete for a purse totaling more than $180,000.
Celebrating the golden age of early California history and the American West, Rancho Mission Viejo is committed to the preservation of the cowboy way of life and continues to carry on the tradition of ‘passing the hat’ in support of a sick child or needy friend, with all proceeds from the Rodeo benefiting local charities.
“We are excited to once again offer residents and visitors an opportunity to experience the annual Rancho Mission Viejo Rodeo, and the special tradition behind the cowboy way of life,” said Tony Moiso, chairman and chief executive officer of Rancho Mission Viejo. “The ranching legacy is thriving in South Orange County, and continues as we carry on the tradition with our annual Rodeo, which has raised more than $2.4 million for local charities to date. We love sharing with the public and residents this celebrated California history while also giving back to our community.”
The rodeo will feature seven events:
• Saddle Bronc Riding: One of the oldest events, the roots of Saddle Bronc Riding reach back to the Old West when ranch hands would show off their style riding unbroken horses. In the modern event, the rider attempts to win style points while staying on a bucking horse for a maximum of eight seconds. Judges consider the horse’s bucking action, the cowboy’s spurring action and his control of the horse.
• Bareback Riding: Like Saddle Bronc Riding, the first thing a bareback rider has to do is “mark out” the horse. Both spurs must touch the horse above the point of its shoulders when it makes its first jump from the chute. If the rider misses the mark – he’s disqualified. No saddle, no stirrups – just cowboy with a leather rigging in one hand and eight seconds of wild action.
• Bull Riding: As in all riding events, half the score is based on the rider’s performance and the other half is based on the bull’s efforts to throw him before the buzzer sounds. Adding to the challenge: the cowboy must hold on with one hand. If his free hand touches the bull or himself, he’s out of the running.
• Steer Wrestling: Known as the “big man’s event,” a steer wrestler (or bulldogger) needs brawn and brains to compete successfully. The steer gets a head start before the bulldogger on horseback races after him, slides down the side of the horse, grabs the running steer and wrestles him to the ground. A timed event, the clock stops when the steer is on his side with all four legs pointing in the same direction.
• Tie Down Roping: This is a beautiful display of teamwork between a cowboy and his horse. Luck of the draw comes into play, too. A spirited calf can thwart the best cowboys. After a head start, the mounted cowboy gives chase, ropes the calf, jumps off his horse and ties any three of the animal’s legs together. When he completes his tie, he remounts and allows the rope to go slack. If the calf kicks free within six seconds, the roper is disqualified.
• Team Roping: Don’t blink or you’ll miss one of the fastest events in rodeo. A two-man, two-horse team of header and heeler work with choreographed precision to chase down a speeding steer. The header ropes him around his protected horns, neck or partial horn-neck catch, then turns the steer to the left so the heeler can rope its hind feet. The run is complete when the team ropers’ horses are facing each other on opposite sides of the secured steer.
• Break Away Roping: This year, we are very excited to introduce for the first-time at the Rancho Mission Viejo Rodeo the addition of Break Away Roping – the fastest event at this year’s Rodeo. Break Away Roping for cowgirls is equivalent to Tie Down Roping for cowboys. It’s a beautiful display of teamwork between a cowgirl and her horse. After a head start, the mounted cowgirl gives chase and ropes the spirited calf. Once the rope leaves the cowgirl’s horse, her time stops – all happening in three to four seconds.
Funds from this year’s event will support local San Juan Capistrano charities, including the Shea Therapeutic Riding Center, CHOC Children’s at Mission Hospital, San Juan Capistrano Boy’s and Girl’s Club and Justin Sportsmedicine.
The Rancho Mission Viejo Rodeo will feature nearly 50 vendors, food trucks and more – providing the public with a distinctly unique opportunity to try on Western-themed apparel and enjoy gourmet food. For the little cowgirls and cowboys, there will be a variety of activities such as face painting, rock climbing, pony rides and more.
Gates open at 1 p.m. on Saturday, August 24 and 11:30 a.m. on Sunday, August 25 at the Rancho Mission Viejo Riding Park, located at the intersection of Ortega Highway and Antonio Parkway/ La Pata.
For the first-time in the 19-year history of the Rancho Mission Viejo Rodeo, the public can now purchase their tickets online at: Tickets can also be purchased at the gate on the day of the events. Tickets are $30 for adults, $10 for children (4-12 years old) and kids ages 3 and under are free. Parking is $10 (cash only).
Please visit for additional event, sponsorship and ticket information.

This legal notice expires, and will be moved to the archive, on Friday August 30th, 2019.