The rodeo portion of Mountain Festival 2019 got off to a strong start Thursday night with the traditional rodeo sponsors thank you dinner and social. Dressed in western finery and held under the stars in the VIP section of of the Tehachapi Rodeo Grounds and Event Center, nearly 200 corporate and individual sponsors and their guests enjoyed a barbecue meal catered by Chef Mano from Red House BBQ.

Guests were offered the opportunity to silent bid on nearly 30 donated items as well as sign up for an opportunity to win a Henry rifle donated by Southern Shooters Supply in Tehachapi. A winner will be drawn and the rifle given to a lucky winner at Friday night's TMRA hosted PRCA Rodeo event.

“It's through your consistent and generous donations we are able to continue to promote the sport of rodeo and the western style of life here in Tehachapi," said longtime TMRA Chairman Dal Bunn.

Thursday night was just the tip of the iceberg for Mountain Festival events.

Friday night at 6 p.m., the Mountain Fest Carnival opens with dozens of rides and games. Over at the VFW Post on Tehachapi Boulevard, there will be a dinner followed by dancing. At 7 p.m. the first of two officially sanctioned PRCA rodeos will take place at the rodeo grounds. Opening the rodeo evening will be local cowboys riding ranch broncs, followed by local riders on mini bulls.

The PRCA Rodeo is always a sellout crowd pleaser with rodeo fans. Every year it seems to grow stronger as hat waving, face smiling fans watch cowboys compete for points, bragging rights, and that all-important prize money. As in the past, fans will see the roughest broncs and bulls in the rodeo circuit. The bulls must also be some of the smartest in the sport, as they can count, for very few riders can stay on their backs for the required 8-second ride to qualify for points.

On Saturday at 6 a.m., registration starts  for a healthy 5k/10k run sponsored by the Tehachapi Valley Recreation & Park District at West Park. After the run visitors might enjoy a pancake breakfast in the American Legion Hall right along the parade route on F Street. By 10 a.m., parade watchers can enjoy the annual Mountain Festival Parade through downtown Tehachapi. At city park, vendors and entertainers are in full swing. Local artisans can be found under the water tank at Railroad Park along Tehachapi Boulevard. Nearby, the Tehachapi Senior Center is hosting the Gem and Mineral Show. At noontime the carnival starts up again and at 5 p.m. the second PRCA Rodeo starts at the rodeo grounds.

Sunday morning at at 9 a.m. the streets of downtown Tehachapi will be filled with chrome and heavy metal as the Thunder on the Mountain Car and Truck and Motorcycle Show starts off. At noontime the vendors will be in full swing and the carnival continues until 9 p.m.

A busy and fun-filled three days for sure. Get your rodeo tickets early as that event is always a sellout.