By Collin Breaux | Email: firstname.lastname@example.org | Twitter: @collin_breaux
Usually, rodeo riders, Western wear and fun times take over the Rancho Mission Viejo Riding Park in August during the Ranch’s annual rodeo.
Like with many things affected by the COVID-19 health crisis, though, this year is different. The 2020 Rancho Mission Viejo Rodeo has been canceled.
An online video—considered a virtual rodeo of sorts—will air in its place on Saturday, Aug. 29, at noon at ranchomissionviejo.com, rmvrodeo.com and on Rancho Mission Viejo’s YouTube channel. The virtual rodeo will pay tribute to the history of the rodeo and the Ranch and feature remarks from Ranch officials and others.
“It’s sad we’re not having it,” Ranch Chief Executive Officer and Chairman Anthony Moiso said of the canceled rodeo. “You see the pictures (on the video) and realize what a good event it is.”
The 19th annual rodeo was held in 2019. The rodeo generally features top contestants in various events, including bull riding and competitive roping. Moiso said it brings the equestrian community together and is a great local event.
“It helps us as Rancho Mission Viejo celebrates our history of ranching,” Moiso said.
Gilbert Aguirre, Executive Vice President of Ranch Operations and President of the Rodeo, said it’s a way to share their Western and cowboy traditions with everyone.
“We’ve taken it to some great heights in the 19 years we’ve had it,” Aguirre said.
The RMV Rodeo has also helped the Ranch raise money for various charities, including the J.F. Shea Therapeutic Riding Center.
The event requires an arena and takes money and time, and is only possible with sponsors and financial contributors. Those backers now face economic challenges in the midst of the COVID-19 crisis. Asking them to contribute as usual during these hard times didn’t feel appropriate, Moiso said.
Saturday’s virtual rodeo is expected to keep the event topical and could be a kickoff to the rodeo returning proper in 2021, conditions permitting.
“We bring a lot of our pals from all over the West,” Moiso said of the usual in-person events.