By Shawn Raymundo

The Rancho Mission Viejo Rodeo, one of The Ranch and San Juan Capistrano’s biggest events of the year, is less than a month away and set to rope in thousands of spectators to watch cowboys participate in ranch-based competitions such as bull riding and tie-down roping.

The annual Rodeo is meant to showcase the region’s Western culture by featuring world champion cowboys at the Rancho Mission Viejo Riding Park, located on the border of San Juan and The Ranch.

“Hosting the Rodeo is our way of showing folks that we have a tremendous Western heritage, one that we feel privileged to share with the community,” Tony Moiso, Ranch chairman and CEO, said in an emailed statement. “We wanted to bring the Western lifestyle and tradition to Orange County, since Rancho Mission Viejo is the last working ranch in the county.”

Moiso said more than 9,000 people came out to last year’s two-day event. But with the first-time addition of an online portal to purchase tickets, The Ranch is expecting an even bigger turnout for this year’s festivities.

The Ranch, Moiso said, has worked to improve the event

“We always have the best stock and the best competitors—the top 30 cowboys and cowgirls in the world. It has been exciting to introduce the Rodeo and ranch way of life to a new generation each year,” he said in the email. “For some, it is their first time seeing a roping demonstration or a bull up close. And knowing that these animals are their neighbors here on Rancho Mission Viejo makes the event that much more special.”

Since its inception in 2001, the Rodeo has raised more than $2.4 million in proceeds that have been donated to local charities, according to Moiso. This year’s proceeds, he said, will benefit the J.F. Shea Therapeutic Riding Center, CHOC Children’s Mission Hospital, the Boys and Girls Clubs of Capistrano Valley and Justin Sports Medicine.

For those in South Orange County and Rancho Mission Viejo, the Rodeo “represents the legacy of the land and a heritage that is so unique to this part” of the county, Moiso said.

“The Rodeo is an experience that brings the community together,” he said in the email. “Attendees fully embrace the traditional Western lifestyle, right down to the clothing.”

The 19th annual Rancho Mission Viejo Rodeo is scheduled for Aug. 24-25 at the Rancho Mission Viejo Riding Park. To find out more information or purchase tickets, visit RMVRodeo.com.

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