Pete Pedrazzi- Committee Member
Pete Pedrazzi is a Salinas Valley native who has farmed and ranched here all his life. Since the 1930’s Pete has been involved with the California Rodeo. He started a 60 year span of volunteering as a teenager that would eventually lead him to become the President of the California Rodeo. Pete was made a director in 1970 and appointed the Track Chairman in 1979. Throughout the years, Pete established himself as an expert horse show judge, doing it for more than 30 years, and was an asset to the California Rodeo track and its events. Pete founded the Special Buckaroos Rodeo that was created for special needs and physically challenged children in the mid 1980’s. The Special Buckaroos Rodeo continues today at the California Rodeo and is held annually on the track. Pete was awarded the Gold Saddleman Award in 1983 for his dedication and development of the project. He was the California Rodeo President from 1986-1987, and even after his presidency, he continued to contribute much of his time to the Rodeo and the Special Buckaroos Rodeo. The California Rodeo and its heritage was a true passion in Pete’s life.
Warren Wayland- Committee Member
Warren Wayland moved to Salinas at age 4, and shortly after that he began his involvement with the California Rodeo. By age 8 he was leading riders to the track and when he was 11 his job was to take care of the California Rodeo’s president’s horse. In 1980 Warren was made a director and served as treasurer. Six years later he became Vice-President and also the track director, serving until 1993. In 1994 he had reached the top and served as the President of the California Rodeo for two years. It was within those two years that Warren, along with the other directors, decided that the old wooden grandstands would have to go, and so the work began to raise funds and complete plans for what we now call the Salinas Sports Complex. Public Recreation Unlimited was incorporated by the directors and Warren served as the Director where he was instrumental in the design, construction, and fundraising for the new complex as well as the adjacent softball facility. The fundraising for the two structures was over $16,000,000 and was successfully raised through hard work and dedication. After Warren’s tireless efforts he was the recipient of the Gold Saddleman Award in 1996. Today Warren is still the Director of Public Recreation Unlimited and is a driving force behind the current campaign for the new stadium to be used for football and soccer at the Salinas Sports Complex. Not only was Warren active at the California Rodeo, but in the Salinas community as well and he continues to benefit this organization and the youth of our community to this day.
If you’re familiar with the sport of team roping, then you have heard of David Motes. When he was born in Mesa, Ariz. on June 29, 1953 the world didn’t know it, but it welcomed a champion. When Motes joined the PRCA in 1973 he began his winning career as a PRCA team roper. He has made a name for himself as one of the nation’s top team ropers with his 22 appearances at the National Finals Rodeo, four-time average winner at the NFR and a Gold Buckle that named him a World Champion Team Roper in 1977. He has won numerous team roping titles but claims his favorite rodeo is none other than the California Rodeo Salinas, and for good reason; Motes has roped his way to five championship buckles at the California Rodeo. Two of them were with his brother Dennis Motes in 1974 and 1977. Then in 1984 with Dennis Watkins, 1986 with Dennis Gatz and in 1989 he teamed back up with Dennis Watkins for another championship. He has also won the Gold Card Team Roping in Salinas three times. Motes currently resides in Tolar, Texas and has shared his talent with his family, as proven when his son Ryan, qualified for the Wrangler NFR in 2007. He has 3 children; daughter, Mika and sons Ryan and Casey.
Frankie Schneider - Contestant
Frankie Schneider rode his first bull at age 13 and he did it at the California Rodeo. This was the start of a great rodeo career and relationship with the California Rodeo. Although Frankie began bull riding, he was an all around hand, and was soon competing in the bareback riding, saddle bronc riding and steer decorating. Frankie’s talent shined in Salinas. In 1934 he was the Champion Bull rider, the following year, 1935, he repeated his win, two years later in 1937, he reclaimed the title, and again in 1940. Bull riding wasn’t his only win at the California Rodeo; in 1938 he won the steer decorating championship. Previously said, Frankie had great relationship with the California Rodeo, not only him, but his whole family also kept the Rodeo dear to their hearts. In 1956, daughter Nancy competed in the Sweetheart Contest, then later in 1963 daughter Joanie won the Junior Stock Horse Class, not to mention Frankie’s granddaughter who also competed at the California Rodeo. The rodeo arena wasn’t the only place Frankie made an appearance; he drove a stagecoach filled with dignitaries and people of recognition through the California Rodeo parade for years. For Frankie there was always a good reason to come to the California Rodeo.
Johnie Schneider- Contestant
One day Johnie Schneider saddled a bronc horse during his noon recess at school, needless to say, he was going to be a cowboy. Though his friends and family joked and told him he would never be big enough or strong enough, he would prove them wrong. Johnie competed in every rodeo event and was equally competitive in each of them, not to mention the fact that he would perform roman riding; jumping horses over cars and keeping crowds entertained. He was no stranger to the California Rodeo’s list of Champions; he was the Champion Steer Decorator in 1932 and 1936, Champion Bull Rider in 1933 and in 1931 he was the All-Around Champion Cowboy. Johnie’s last year of competition was 1941, but it wasn’t the end of his involvement. After retiring from rodeo he spent his time as a state brand inspector in Stockton, California. In 1951 he moved to Salinas and became the Monterey County Brand Inspector. It was around this time when he returned to the California Rodeo and became a familiar figure as the man opening the chute gates. Johnie was a cowboy, cattlemen and above all, he was a gentleman. Johnie was recognized by multiple halls of fames, including his induction into the ProRodeo Hall of Fame in 1992, as well as being an Honorary Member of the California Rodeo Board of Directors.
RR Le Mistral AKA Mister- Livestock
A good horse is hard to find, but when RR Le Mistral, Mister for short, came around owner Ron Schenk knew he had a good one. His blood lines run deep, from some of the most talented horses around. Son of Partnership and out of RR Le Mistral by Easy Jet, you could say running was in his blood. Turns out he became one of the top steer wrestling horses in the PRCA. Winning some of the most coveted rodeo titles and ridden by top rodeo competitors, he was an asset to any cowboy that was lucky enough to ride him. Mister was no stranger to the California Rodeo either; in 2004 owner Ron Schenk won the steer wrestling on Mister, Linn Churchill rode Mister to a win in 2005, and in 2008 Mister helped Brock Andrus win the same title. 2010 all-around champion Clint White rode Mister in the steer wrestling. In 2005 Mister was chosen as PRCA’s Runner Up AQHA Horse of the year. In March of 2011 Mister was sold by Ron & Candace Schenk to Shawn & Mesa Greenfield who was no stranger to the talented equine athlete. Shawn qualified for the Wrangler NFR on Mister in 2005, and was one of his biggest fans. Sadly, in January of 2012 Mister died and went to the rodeo in the sky, but will always be remembered as one of the great horses the rodeo world was lucky enough to call their own.Wilbur Plaugher- Contract Personnel/Performer
Wilbur Plaugher is known as one of the funniest clowns in the business of rodeo who entertained the crowds in Salinas for many years. Wilbur was made famous by his clown acts that included ducks and dogs doubling as rabbits and fighting bulls, as well as the barrel racing-dog riding monkey. Born in Lima, Ohio on March 13, 1922 and currently residing in Sanger, California, his list of rodeo accomplishments isn’t short. Before he was a rodeo clown he was a rodeo contestant. Plaugher competed in the saddle bronc riding and bareback riding, but steer wrestling was his specialty. With two world records for the fastest time in the steer wrestling, it is undeniable that steer wrestling was his forte. He even doubled as both a rodeo clown, and contestant; it wasn’t unusual to see him compete in the steer wrestling wearing his baggy clown britches with grease paint on his face. In 1946, Plaugher was the all-around champion at the Madison Square Garden Rodeo in New York, that same year he started his career as a bullfighter. He was named PRCA Man of the Year in 1961, and PRCA Clown of the year in 1982. A few years later he received one of the greatest honors in rodeo when he was inducted into the ProRodeo Hall of Fame in 1990.