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Cattle Drive kicks off Chowchilla Stampede

A herd of cattle gets pushed through downtown Chowchilla Friday in the kickoff the annual Western Stampede.
A herd of cattle gets pushed through downtown Chowchilla Friday in the kickoff the annual Western Stampede. akuhn@mercedsunstar.com

Rain did not dampen the spirits of the cowboys and cowgirls who brought a herd of steers down Robertson Boulevard on Friday.

The Cattle Drive kicked off the 59th annual Chowchilla Western Stampede.

Although the crowd along Chowchilla’s main street was down due to the rain, spectators, families and schoolchildren braved the weather to take part in the yearly event.

Bob Ragsdale, a longtime Chowchilla resident and renowned rodeo hero, helped lead the Cattle Drive as the 2016 grand marshal. He was joined by Stampede committee members, the 2016 newly crowned royalty and court, and friends of the Stampede.

The Cattle Drive kicks off three days of roping events at the Chowchilla Fairgrounds. The first roping was held Friday evening under the covered arena. On Saturday the Dan Branco Memorial eight-steer roping will begin at 9 a.m. with roping events throughout the day. On Sunday, the roping continues at 9 a.m. Following the last roping there will be a free gymkhana for youth ages 17 and under.

Cash prizes, saddles, belt buckles, breast collars, trophies and ribbons will be awarded throughout the weekend.

All events are open and free to the public.

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