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By Allison Jarrell

Celebrating its fifth year of Rodeo Week events and activities, the San Juan Capistrano Chamber of Commerce is inviting residents and visitors to participate in some spirited Western festivities leading up to the 16th annual Rancho Mission Viejo Rodeo.

Mark Bodenhamer, executive director of the chamber, said the weeklong celebration is meant to help extend rodeo weekend while getting the community involved and excited about celebrating its Western heritage and equestrian lifestyle.

The chamber kicks off the week with a mixer on Thursday, Aug. 18 from 5-7 p.m. at American Horse Products and The BrewHouse, located at 31896 Plaza Drive in San Juan. Bodenhamer said the Western-themed evening is a great opportunity for businesses to network while also getting into the rodeo spirit. Admission is $15 per person, which includes two drinks and appetizers.

“It’s a great chance to get to know a couple of great local businesses,” Bodenhamer said. “For those who like to ride or want to learn more about San Juan’s equestrian community, they can check out American Horse Products. The BrewHouse has become a really cool destination in town, so we’re excited to showcase their unique offerings.”

On Tuesday, Aug.23, you can relish the cowboy life while sitting around the campfire. The Camino Real Playhouse once again presents an evening of cowboy songs, stories and poetry performed by Rusty Richards, an inductee of the National Cowboy Hall of Fame and former member of the Western singing group Sons of the Pioneers. Richards, along with his son Jason, will be singing duets and storytelling beginning at 8 p.m. at the playhouse, located at 31776 El Camino Real in San Juan. Tickets are $20 or $30 for a Cabaret table and can be purchased by calling the box office at 949.489.8082.

On Thursday, Aug. 25, the annual Hot Buns Contest takes place at The Swallow’s Inn beginning at 9 p.m., and on Friday, Aug. 26, Danny Griego & the Electric Tumbleweeds will rock The Swallow’s Inn at 7 p.m.

Rodeo Week comes to a close this year at Bad to the Bone BBQ on Saturday, Aug. 27 with a rodeo party featuring the Rob Staley Band at 7 p.m. The evening includes dancing and a full bar. Bad to the Bone BBQ is located at 31738 Rancho Viejo Road.

For more information on this year’s Rodeo Week schedule, visit or contact the chamber at 949.493.4700.

16th Annual Rancho Mission Viejo Rodeo

The 16th annual Rancho Mission Viejo Rodeo takes place Saturday, Aug. 27 and Sunday, Aug. 28.

Heralded as “America’s richest two-day rodeo” with a purse totaling more than $200,000, the annual event has been hosted by Rancho Mission Viejo’s O’Neill-Avery-Moiso family for the past 16 years in celebration of the golden age of early California rodeo tradition and the heritage of the land.

As in years past, the all-star Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association line-up features the top 30 rodeo contestants in saddle bronc riding, bareback riding, bull riding, steer wrestling, tie-down roping and team roping. The RMV Rodeo is where cowboys come to fight for a spot in the National Finals Rodeo in Las Vegas.

The Ranch has raised more than $1.5 million to date, with proceeds benefitting a number of South Orange County charities, including The Shea Center for Therapeutic Riding in San Juan Capistrano and CHOC at Mission Hospital.

On Saturday, gates open at 1 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 at 6 p.m. Gates open at 11:30 a.m. on Sunday with the rodeo beginning at 1:30 p.m.

Tickets are $30 for adults, $10 for kids 4 to 12 years old and free for kids 3 and under. Parking is $5 cash only with limited availability. Tickets are on sale at six locations in south Orange County (cash only): The Swallow’s Inn and Ortega Tack & Feed in San Juan Capistrano, Hennessey’s Tavern in Dana Point, Boot Barn in Lake Forest, Arroyo Trabuco Golf Club in Mission Viejo and the Esencia Visitor Center in Rancho Mission Viejo. Cash, debit and credit cards are accepted at the gates.

For more information about the rodeo, visit

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