Clough Ranch Picnic –
Tehama County’s First Recorded Rodeo
Tehama County cattlemen and their hands gathering together after the
spring round-up of their herds to hold a picnic and informal rodeo.
The first of its kind was held in 1918 at the A.H.Clough Ranch in Los
Molinos and drew a crowd from far and near. The cowhands tried their
luck at riding saddle broncs and wild steers, bulldogging and roping
1919, Jess Bennett and Ivy Bell, who ran a cattle ranch near Vina, decided
to have an informal bronc riding and roping contest on their ranch.
The event was so successful, it was followed by the Vina Festival in
1920. That same year, a group of ranchers and businessmen from Red Bluff
and Chico started the Northern California Round-Up Association.
First Red Bluff Round-Up
After the success of a spring Northern California Round-Up held in Deer
Creek, it was decided to form a Red Bluff Round-Up Association and hold
a rodeo during the Tehama County Fair in October. Seventeen events were
scheduled for the track and infield. Seven thousand attendees cheered
contestants. While this rodeo proved to be a financial flop, the Board
of Directors decided to hold another rodeo the following September.
This event also proved a financial liability, so no rodeo was held in
1923. In 1924, a hoof and mouth disease epidemic cancelled all rodeos.
The Northern California Round-Up Association held its last rodeo in
1925. So, in March of 1926, the Red Bluff Round-Up Association decided
to reorganize and hold a two-day spring show. Thanks in part to the
efforts of traveling advertising man Don Tait (alias Montana Red), the
1926 rodeo hosted over 10,000 in attendance.
ridden at Pendelton, Salinas, Cheyenne and many big shows in the country
– talk about salty birds and rough bronc rules – you fellows
have them all in one bunch You have every bit as much, if not better,
than those other shows."
Caravan Carries the Message
In1928, the Rodeo Committee formed its own publicity caravan which consisted
of fifty cars. They drove down the west side to Corning, Orland and
Willows and came back on the east side of the Sacramento River through
Hamilton City and Chico. In the first caravan, led by Undersheriff Walter
Williams, the car’s screeching siren led the way along with a
saddle over the hood for Mike Fish to ride on. Megaphone in hand, Mike
would climb on the "hurricane deck" to make his announcements
while, at the end of the caravan, forty-nine cars back, he would be
echoed by another megaphone. This "caravan effort would continue
throughout the 1960’s.
of the depression, no rodeo was held in 1933. Also, World War II cancelled
the 1942-45 rodeos. However, in all other years, the Red Bluff Round-Up
Today’s event includes a week of events throughout the community
including a bowling tournament, foot race, pancake breakfast, street
dance, antique shows, Chamber mixer, golf tournament, chili cook-off,
parade, dances and more. The event is a major income booster to the
community filling hotels, restaurants and gasoline stations like few
other weeks of the year. Being a major PRCA spring rodeo, its timing
is ideal for securing top stock contractors as well and world class
contestants hungry for season points.
Years of Rodeo
over 157 pages and 230 pictures, this book is a virtual treasure-trove
of information and photos of past and present performers and rodeo champions,
including some of the best bucking horses and bulls ever seen. The back
cover is a color photo of the "Lane Frost Red Rock Confrontation".
This book is perma-bound, and with limited copies available, it will
soon become a collector's item. As a rodeo fan, you will enjoy the simplicity
and the beauty of "75 Years of Rodeo".
and produced by Round-Up Director George Froome, the book begins in
1918 with early pictures of ranch hand picnics.
Purchase Your Very Own Copy: This book may be obtained
for $15, which includes sales tax, shipping and handling. To order this
book, send a check or money order to: "75 Years of Rodeo",
c/o Red Bluff Round-Up Museum, PO Box 1028, Red Bluff, CA., 96080. Please
remember to include your name and address. The book is also available
at the Red Bluff Round-Up Office on Antelope Boulevard at the Tehama
District Fairgrounds. For questions, call (530) 527-1000 or email