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the saddle horse show & rodeo

The San Benito County Saddle Horse Show and Rodeo displays our county’s early Spanish heritage along with activities and skills from present-day ranch life. This old-time competition will bring you back to the early days of San Benito, a county still considered vaquero country to Western aficionados.

How It Started

The San Benito County Saddle Horse Show and Rodeo began in 1929 as a weekend of fun and challenge for hard-working cowboys and ranch hands. Organized by a group of local businessmen, community leaders and prominent ranchers, the rodeo has operated every year for generations except for four years during World War II. The show started with 25 original directors, and today that number still oversees the yearly show and day-to-day operation of the Association.

Producing Top Riders

Home of the famous horse Doc Bar, San Benito County has produced real working cow horses and top riders who have made it to the Reining Cow Horse Hall of Fame and the Cowboy Hall of Fame.

Show-Stopping Moves

One event that is unique to the Saddle Horse Show is the Figure-8 Roping. Riders rope the steer’s horns with the first loop and at the same time catch the animal’s two front feet with another loop (making a figure eight shape). Will James spent a lot of time in San Benito County and coined this difficult catch “The San Benito Toss.” The Wild Horse Race is a rough and tumble event sure to capture the crowd’s attention. Over the years we have added many events for kids, but Rodeo entries from age 4 to over 70 are welcome.