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The Chamber of Commerce has planned four days of Western fun, leading up to the Rancho Mission Viejo Rodeo

Isaac Diaz competes in the saddle bronc-riding event. Photo by Brian Park
Isaac Diaz competes in the saddle bronc-riding event. Photo by Brian Park

By Brian Park

In the week leading up to the Rancho Mission Viejo Rodeo, the San Juan Capistrano Chamber of Commerce is getting the town into the Western spirit with the third annual Rodeo Week.

The chamber will host its Kick-Off BBQ on Friday, August 15, from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m., at Hamilton Oaks Winery, 29943 Camino Capistrano. The event includes food from Mission Grill, live music by Swing Shift, dancing and more. The winery will also be serving their special edition wines, “Rodeo Red” and “Wrangler White.”

The event costs $35 per person. Space is limited and reservations are required by contacting the chamber at 949.493.4700 or emailing

The barbecue is followed by the return of the Rodeo Ride, a horseback trail ride along San Juan Creek, on Sunday, August 17, from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. The ride starts at Reata Park and Event Center, costs $50 per person and includes a T-shirt and lunch. Rental horses are available for $200.

On Tuesday, August 19, the Spirit of the Cowboy Concert welcomes back Rusty Richards, a member of the National Cowboy Hall of Fame. Richards, along with his son Jason and a special guest, will be singing songs and telling stories of the American West, starting at 8 p.m., at the Camino Real Playhouse, 31776 El Camino Real. Tickets are $20.

Rodeo Week closes with a tequila tasting event at El Adobe de Capistrano on Thursday, August 21, from 5:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. The festive evening includes tastings of nine tequilas, appetizers and live music. Tickets cost $20 and can be purchased at El Adobe or the chamber office, 31421 La Matanza Street.

For more information on Rodeo Week, visit

The 14th annual Rancho Mission Viejo Rodeo will take place Saturday, August 23 and Sunday, August 24.

It’s heralded as the richest two-day rodeo in the nation with a purse worth over $200,000. The top 30 cowboys in six events will compete in saddle bronc riding, bareback riding, bull riding, steer wrestling, tie-down roping and team roping. The rodeo is part of the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association season and is an important competition for many cowboys who are hoping to secure a spot in the National Finals Rodeo in Las Vegas in December.

On Saturday, gates open at 2 p.m. with opening ceremonies at 3:45 p.m. and the rodeo at 4 p.m. The competition will be followed by a concert and dance featuring Chancey Williams and the Younger Brothers Band at 6 p.m.

Gates open at 11:30 a.m. on Sunday with the rodeo beginning at 1:30 p.m.

Admission is $30 for adults, $10 for kids 4 to 12 years old and free for kids 3 and under. Parking is included with the purchase of an adult ticket. Tickets are on sale at seven locations in south Orange County: The Swallow’s Inn and Ortega Tack and Feed in San Juan Capistrano, Hennessy’s Tavern in Dana Point, Boot Barn in Lake Forest, Jerry’s Dogs in Ladera Ranch, Arroyo Trabuco Golf Club in Mission Viejo and the Sendero Guest House in Rancho Mission Viejo. Cash, debit and credit cards are also accepted at the gates.

For more information about the rodeo, visit

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