Did you know California has the second most horses behind Texas with more than 700,000? Or that there are 9.2 million horses in the U.S. as of 2017, which adds more than $100 billion to our nation’s economy? So it’s no wonder small, rural towns like Tehachapi are big into horses, rodeos, horse shows and recreational riding.

Horses and the western way of life are alive and well in Tehachapi. We are fortunate to hold fabulous PRCA rodeos and bull riding events in Tehachapi and the surrounding areas. Our equestrian calendar is full of trail rides, cattle working events such as sortings and ropings, horse shows, etc.

To help promote the values and strength in the western way of life, California is proud to have an ambassador to represent our state, Miss Rodeo California. Each year contestants vie for the title of Miss Rodeo California and the opportunity to be an ambassador for the sport of professional rodeo and the world of ranching, farming and agriculture.

The pageant to select this ambassador is held annually in nearby Lancaster during the week prior to the California Circuit Finals Rodeo in early October. Miss Rodeo California spends the year traveling the state of California and beyond, promoting our great state, rodeo and the western way of life. She is a role model to our youngsters, a superb horsewoman, has knowledge of California and the western world, and the poise and ability to represent that world to others. After her reign as Miss Rodeo California, she is poised to further her career journey with a scholarship from Miss Rodeo California, Inc.

Each year the pageant holds a fundraiser here in Tehachapi to assist with pageant costs and raise scholarship money for the upcoming Miss Rodeo California. The basis of this scholarship is $1,500 from the pageant but you have the opportunity to dial up that amount and assist the future Miss Rodeo California.

This year’s Miss Rodeo California Fundraiser is coming up at 6:30 p.m. Sept. 8. This event is a widely attended event with a fabulous dinner catered by Angry Barnyard of Bakersfield. It will be held in the tree-shaded VIP area of the Tehachapi Event Center and Rodeo Grounds.

This year’s slate of worthy young ladies will be introduced and announcing will be provided by our very own Dal Bunn, or Doc Boene, as he is known in the world of rodeo. The highlight of the evening will be a series of auctions, both silent and live. The auction items have been procured by the contestants, the pageant board, and the generosity of Miss Rodeo California supporters.

Some of the high-value auction items include: a one hunter, one pig hunt on a Southern California private ranch, a glider ride over the valleys and mountains of Tehachapi, an American flag which was flown over the U.S. capitol, a catered dinner at the location of your choice, a two-day, two-night stay in a Cuyucos beach house only a block from the ocean, a leather vest by famous rodeo queen clothing designer Donna Riva, a 2-tiered saddle rack, a package with passes to an assortment of Southern California’s best amusement parks, several local restaurant gift certificates, and many, many more items.

This is a two-for-one opportunity; a chance to bid on some outstanding items and the ability to raise money for the scholarship fund of our Miss Rodeo California. All funds raised during the silent auction portion of the fundraiser will go directly to the scholarship fund!

Tickets for the event can be purchased online at the Facebook event page: Miss Rodeo Calif Fundraiser Dinner and Auction, at the gate, or by contacting Marilyn Morphis at 822-3219. Tickets are $40 per person (10 and under free) and include a delicious tri-tip dinner, entertainment, and of course the opportunity to assist a worthy young woman in furthering her education. Wear your boots and hat and join us for an evening of fun.

Deb Burken is a Miss Rodeo California board member.