A historic rodeo in a local city kicked off Friday morning. Chowchilla celebrated their 56th Annual Western Stampede. Around 100 head of cattle along with horses paraded through Robertson Boulevard during the cattle drive.
A herd of cattle hitting the pavement in a city isn't a common site, but for Chowchilla, it's something they've done for the last 56 years.
"Tradition, really. My dad did it, my grandpa did it," said roper, Clay Ruiz.
Ruiz is competing this year just as he has done since he was a little kid.
"We used to ride and rope. My dad used to take me out here and we've been doing it forever," said Ruiz.
For him it's a way of life as it is for many others in the community. The stampede committee says some ropers and riders even got their start in Chowchilla.
"Historically we've had some of the best professional rodeo athletes in the world...current, past, hall of fame members," said Tommy Martin with the Chowchilla Stampede committee.
The cattle drive and roping is just as it was back in the day. Now-a-days the cows are purchased in Mexico. They have a good two years competing until it becomes too hard on them.
"He'll trade them out, those annually that don't fit the mold or have gotten too big," said Martin.
The rodeo draws people from around the nation and around 800 ropers are expected to compete over the weekend. It's a big boost for local businesses.
As the fun continues, young ropers like Ruiz have their eye on the grand prize.
"I almost won it last year, so hopefully this year we can win it," said Ruiz.