An unidentified barrel racer makes a run during a livestreamed performance of the 64th Cattle Call Rodeo in Brawley over the weekend of Nov. 14 and 15, 2020. The Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association-sanctioned event was staged in an empty Cattle Call Arena due to the COVID-19 pandemic. A fully packed arena is expected as a near-record number of entrants return. | JONATHAN ARCHER FILE PHOTO
BRAWLEY — To borrow a bit from the Thin Lizzy classic, “The (Cow)Boys are Back in Town” — and then some — starting this weekend for the 65th annual Cattle Call Rodeo Week in Brawley.
After a year away for all the pageantry due to the pandemic, the Cattle Call Rodeo Committee and the Chamber of Commerce for Greater Brawley have kicked it into high gear to bring a week of Western-themed fun and entertainment for the Imperial Valley, beginning with the chili cook-off on Saturday, Nov. 6, and leading to the rodeo performances of the weekend of Nov. 13 and 14.
Some 313 cowboys and cowgirls will compete in the rodeo this year, the most contestants for a Cattle Call Rodeo in more than 20 years, Cattle Call Rodeo Chairman Carson Kalin said. These will include top cowboys from around the country all competing for a chance at Cattle Call fame and national fame in the future.
“It’s going to be wild. We’re drawing cowboys from all over the place, and they are National Finals Rodeo contestants,” Kalin said. “The talent that is going to be coming here is going to be excellent!”
But first, it’s a full slate of chamber events.
“This is one of the first events in the community at this capacity that is going to be happening, and we are very excited,” said chamber Business Development Specialist Michell Ortiz, who added this year has been especially challenging due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
On the bright side, Ortiz said every vendor spot and booth has been sold out for every event in the coming week. She added there will be a lot of new vendors this year, creating a mix of old and new.
Brawley City Manager Tyler Salcido said the city is always 100 percent behind the chamber and everything that will be going into Cattle Call.
“We are excited to have the Cattle Call back here,” Salcido said. “We were down all of last year because of COVID and we’re here to support the chamber and the Cattle Call Committee in any way we can.”
Kalin echoed Ortiz, saying that the rodeo this year feels like it has been more challenging, even intense to the point he’s looking forward to the end because of the anticipation behind it.
Below is a list of the scheduled events by the chamber, kicking the week off with the chili cook off:
Saturday, Nov. 6 — Chili Cook-Off and First Cornhole Tournament at the Plaza Park from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Monday, Nov. 8 — Cattle Call Mega Mixer at Sun Community Federal Credit Union’s Brawley branch, from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m.
Wednesday, Nov. 10 — Mariachi Night at the Plaza Park from 6 p.m. to 11 p.m.
Saturday, Nov. 13 — Cattle Call Parade through Brawley at 9 a.m.
The Chamber is also hosting a business decorating contest, so residents are likely to see businesses decked out in Western accoutrements as well this week.
The Cattle Call Rodeo will be on Saturday, Nov. 13, and Sunday, Nov. 14. There will be two shows on Saturday, at 1 p.m. and 7 p.m., and a Sunday matinee only at 1 p.m.
Kalin said the Saturday night tickets have already been sold out, but there are still tickets for Saturday afternoon and Sunday. There will still be standing-room only tickets sold at the gate for Saturday night’s rodeo.
Kalin recommends attendees get there early as the arena is likely to be at capacity for all three shows.
All shows will follow state and Imperial County Public Health Department guidelines that state events that are held outside under 10,000 attendees have no restrictions, Kalin said.