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We promote public engagement to keep alive the rich history and culture of the Santa Barbara ranching community. The Santa Barbara Fiesta Stock Horse Show and Rodeo is the last remaining Stock Horse Show and Rodeo in California.
The main endeavor of the Fiesta celebration is to bring to town the cowboys from the many local ranches in the Tri-Counties (San Luis Obispo, Santa Barbara or Ventura) to see who has the best horse, or is the best roper, brander, etc. The Fiesta Stock Horse Show dates back to 1924. It involved showing stock horses, some cattle work, and roping and was held at the old Pershing Park arena on Castillo Street. During the very first fiestas, a "competencia de vaqueros" was the highlight of the festivities. Cowboys from surrounding ranches came to town to show off their roping and riding skills and the young horses they were training. Rancher J. J. Hollister sponsored a handmade saddle to the winner of the stock horse class as a way to encourage the development of superior cow working horses. In 1958 the Fiesta Stock Horse Show was moved to the Earl Warren Showgrounds and professional rodeo was added to the show which consists of professional steer wrestling, team roping, bareback broncos, saddle broncos, and bull riding.