California Rodeo Salinas donates $560K to local nonprofits

Dozens of community groups benefit from events

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Representatives from 25 nonprofits gather after receiving their respective checks at the California Rodeo Salinas’ director meeting on Aug. 18 in Salinas. The Rodeo donated a total of $563,258 to community organizations in 2022. (Mag One Media)

SALINAS VALEY — California Rodeo Salinas donated a total of $563,258 to community nonprofits in 2022, an increase of 5.3% over the 2019 donation, which was the most recent year the California Rodeo Association hosted a full roster of events.

Representatives from 25 organizations received their respective checks at the California Rodeo Salinas’ director meeting on Aug. 18 in Salinas.

“This is our favorite meeting of the year,” said California Rodeo President Fred Hooker. “The California Rodeo Salinas is thrilled to impact our community in such a positive and meaningful way. We could not produce our events without the help of local nonprofits who earn these funds.”

Donations were earned by groups who performed jobs like parking, ushering, selling food and more during events. Discounted facility rentals, ticket donations and tips collected at various events held at the Salinas Sports Complex — including concerts, Monster Jam, Big Week Bull Riding and the California Rodeo Salinas — are also included in the grand total.

According to Hooker, 2022 was “very successful” for the Rodeo, which saw attendance rise by 10% over 2019, including a sold-out Friday night performance. The only other performances that have sold out in its recent history were in 1996, 1991 and 1973.

This year’s Big Week Bull Riding also sold out on July 20 with more than 10,000 people attending.

“Higher attendance means more funds are generated for nonprofits, and that money spent here, stays here,” stated the Rodeo in a news release.

Some of the local nonprofits that earned funds this year include: Ariel Theatrical, Filipino Community of Salinas Valley, First Tee Monterey County, Foundation for Monterey County Free Libraries, Rotary Club of Salinas Valley, Salinas Valley Memorial Hospital Foundation, Salinas High Interact, Soledad ROTC, Sun Street Centers, The Grower-Shipper Association Foundation and Toro Bulls Football and Cheer.

Funds were also allocated to rodeo-related groups, such as the Monterey County Sheriff’s Posse Junior Rodeo, the Cal Poly Rodeo Team, the Justin Cowboy Crisis Fund and other organizations that align with the California Rodeo’s mission of preserving and promoting the traditions of the west.

The organizations use the money for uniforms, educational and enrichment opportunities, tournament fees, facility improvements and more. Donations were also made to the American Cancer Society as part of the Rodeo’s Relay for Life participation.

Next year’s California Rodeo Salinas is planned for July 20-23, 2023.

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Ryan Cronk is the managing editor for King City Rustler and Salinas Valley Tribune, a unified publication of Greenfield News, Soledad Bee and Gonzales Tribune. He covers general news for South Monterey County and the surrounding communities.

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