Abe Lefton was born in San Francisco on
June 15, 1896. He started his rodeo career as a bronc rider and rodeo clown. He
was known for using a cardboard megaphone to tell people what was happening in
particular rodeo events. Although Abe wasn’t a rodeo announcer at that time,
his use of the megaphone made him known world-wide. Later he became a full-time
announcer using a microphone to depict the rodeo action. From 1928-1951, Abe
was the official Salinas Rodeo announcer. He was eulogized as working every
major rodeo in the country. Abe also appeared as a rodeo announcer in the
movies: Melody Trial, The Old Corral and the Mesquite Buckaroo.
was born in Sonoma County, California in September of 1863 and came to Monterey
County in 1867 with his family. Arthur was the first president of the
California Rodeo Salinas and remained so until his death in 1936. He was the
Rodeo Association of America’s Vice President and helped to develop guidelines
for rodeos across the U.S and Canada. In addition to his dedication to the
California Rodeo, Arthur was also one of the most widely-known cattlemen in the
Committee-Myron 'Doc' Etienne, Jr.
Jr. was born on May 19, 1924 and
lives in Carmel Valley, California. He was President of the California Rodeo
Salinas from 1968- 1970 and has been on the committee since 1952, serving as
Legal Counsel for the past 40 years. Doc has won numerous awards for his years
of community and public service and for his rodeo involvement including a spot
in the PRCA Hall of Fame in August 2001.
Ki Silacci was born and raised and
lived and worked his whole life east of Salinas at 960 Old Stage Road. Ki
became involved with the Rodeo as a contestant in the early 1920s, riding
saddle broncs and bulls, and roping whatever was turned out of the chute.
Ki worked very hard with his brothers and many neighbors and friends
during the 1920s and 30s to put on a good rodeo that was satisfying for both
the contestants and the public. Ki became Arena Chairman/Director in 1932 until
1968 and helped oversee the arena until 1976. He was awarded the Gold Saddleman
Award in 1962.
Lola Galli was born on July 14, 1907 in
Tres Pinos California. She started showing horses in 1923 and won many saddles
and awards during her lifetime. She won the Reined Cow Horses Association Hall
of Fame award, the San Benito County Horse Show and Rodeo Hall of Fame award,
Cow Palace Grand National trophies and, in 1973, she won a 50 year service/
participation award from the California Rodeo Salinas.
Notable-Jim Rodriguez Sr.
Jim Rodriguez Sr., known fondly as
"Old Jim," was one of nine children and lived his entire life in the
home where he grew up. He started his career in agriculture as a dairyman,
eventually owning and operating his own dairy in the Elkhorn District. In
addition, he owned his own cattle ranch and roping arena for more than 60
years, where his son Jim Rodriguez Jr. learned to rope before going on to
become multiple-year world champion. Jim Sr. was a long-time committeeman for
the Salinas Rodeo as well as a Gold Card member of the Professional Rodeo
Cowboys Association. The word committeeman is not sufficient to describe Jim
Rodriguez Sr. He was more of a legend at the California Rodeo, sitting behind
the roping chutes and calling all the cowboys up to get ready for their moment
in the arena. Jim was always a colorful character and a fixture that has been
missed since he passed away in 2006.
Contestant-Jim Rodriguez Jr.
Jim Rodriguez Jr. grew up in a
roping arena owned by his father, applied his early training and individual
skills to team roping and won four world championships. Rodriguez, born Sept.
9, 1941, in Watsonville, Calif., was the youngest man to win a team roping
title, taking his first championship at age 18 in 1959. He finished in the Top
15 for 19 consecutive years, thereby qualifying for the National Finals Rodeo,
records that are sure to stand for many years. Upon teaming with all-time great
Gene Rambo, the perfect combination resulted in two championships in a row in
1959 and 1960 and additional championships in 1962 and 1965. A hometown hero, Jim
won the California Rodeo Salinas Team Roping title four times in ’57, ’58, ’60
and ’62, all while roping with Gene Rambo. Jim also competed in Tie Down
Roping, winning that buckle in Salinas in 1968. He took home the Salinas All
Around buckle in a tie with Gene Rambo in 1958 and 1960 and all on his own in
1962, 1968 and 1971. He was inducted into the Pro Rodeo Hall of Fame in 1979.
All-around cowboy Gene Rambo, was
inducted into the Professional Rodeo Cowboy Association’s Hall of Fame in 1989.
To those who competed with Gene Rambo of San Miguel, Calif., during the 1940s
and 50s, there will never be a more versatile cowboy. A native Californian,
Rambo competed in all three riding events, all three roping events and steer
wrestling. More importantly, he won consistently in all seven events for more
than a decade. Gene Rambo partnered with Castroville resident Jim Rodriguez Jr.
to win the Team Roping Championship in Salinas four times in ’57, ’58, ’60 and
‘62 and also won that event with Marion Vincent in 1948. Gene won the Salinas
Steer Wrestling title in 1949. He also took home the coveted Salinas All-Around
title solo in 1948, 1949, 1957 and tied twice for that title with Jim Rodriguez
Jr. in 1958 and 1960.
Jack Roddy competed in his first RCA
rodeo at the age of 14 and won $90 in the wild horse race, the promise of good
purses to come. Early participation in rodeo was not surprising for this
youngster who grew up on the family ranch near Colma, Calif., riding and roping
with his father's friends in the rodeo world. In 1956 he joined the RCA and
began to rodeo around the country, entering in all events. His lanky 6-foot-5
inch frame didn't fit the usual cowboy mold, but it didn't keep him from
becoming college rodeo's all-around champion in 1959. Adding weight to his
height, Roddy became a powerful force in steer wrestling in the 1960s. He went
to the NFR for the first time in 1962 and in 1966 won the world championship in
steer wrestling, setting a record for total earnings in the event. He also won
a world steer wrestling title in 1968. Jack won the Steer Wrestling title at
the California Rodeo Salinas in 1962, 1964 and 1966. *
Supporter & Contributor-Patricia
Patricia Adcock Garlinger has a rich
history with the California Rodeo. In 1940 she was selected to be Hostess.
Through that experience, she met her husband, Del Garlinger, who became
President of the California Rodeo in 1966. Pat had five daughters, four of whom
went on to win Hostess titles of their own. Since 1970, Pat has been a member
of the Sweetheart Committee and became an Honorary Director of the Association
in 1984. As Chairman of the Sweetheart Committee, she helped to transition the
contest into the new title of Miss California Rodeo Salinas. Pat and her entire
family have proudly promoted the California Rodeo Salinas for much of their
Track Contestant-Greg Ward
Greg Ward has won countless Snaffle Bit
Futurities and Cutting Futurities. He also started a legacy of great working
cow and performance horses. Greg was inducted into the National Reined Cow
Horse Association’s Hall of Fame where they wrote, “His philosophies are in
unison with that of the old Spanish traditions. He believes that the horse must
be trained in three ways: physically, mentally and spiritually. He believes
horses are just like people. In order for you to trust him he has to trust you.
Greg said that he wouldn't have traded his life with the richest guy in the
world.” Despite his battle with cancer, Greg Ward won the 1998 NRCHA Snaffle
Bit Futurity on Reminics Pep. Greg died two months
after the win.