Golden Circle of Champions

Sign up for email updates from California Rodeo Salinas

Home > About Us > Community Involvement > Golden Circle of Champions

Golden Circle of Champions

The Golden Circle of Champions, in conjunction with Las Vegas Events, the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association, Red Bluff Round-Up, Santa Maria Elks Rodeo and Nevada Childhood Cancer Foundation, will honor 20 children and their families fighting life-threatening cancer during the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo in Las Vegas.

Founded in 2016 in conjunction with the Santa Maria Elks Rodeo, the Golden Circle of Champions was conceived to raise awareness and provide funds to help those children who are battling cancer. Through donations and fundraising efforts, support is provided directly to the families to fulfill their most urgent needs: paying bills, buying medicine and caring for their family.

What started at the Santa Maria Elks Rodeo has made its way to Las Vegas to continue the vital mission of the Golden Circle of Champions. Ten local Las Vegas families along with 10 families chosen from PRCA-sanctioned rodeos from across the country were treated like champions at rodeo-themed activities in their honor. Each of the 20 families in attendance included a child between the ages of 6 and 14 years of age who has been diagnosed with a life-threatening cancer or associated illness.

While in Las Vegas, the children and their families are honored at the Golden Circle of Champions Banquet at the South Point Hotel, Casino & Spa. The children dine with rodeo champions, receive special gifts and learn about the sport of rodeo. All honorees attend the Wrangler NFR at the Thomas & Mack Center where they cheer on their favorite cowboy or cowgirl.

HELP THE CAUSE----donate below

DONATE to Golden Circle of Champions
DONATE to Golden Circle of Champions
Founded in 2016, the Golden Circle of Champions was conceived to raise awareness and provide funds to help those children with cancer who are in need.

Oliva Ingram - 2022

1 of 3

Olivia Ingram, ten years old, of Salinas California is the very definition of grit. Watching her play with her friends at her recent birthday party you would have never guessed it, but Olivia was diagnosed with skin cancer before the age of two and a metastatic brain tumor at the age of three. Proving herself a fighter she has undergone three stem cell transplants and six rounds of intensive chemo. She has had multiple brain surgeries that have required her to relearn to walk and talk three times since she was born. This early fight has taught her to never use the word quit. When she was six years old she went to visit her dad in the hospital, after he nearly lost his leg, and her first words for him were “you’ll be fine”. Olivia excels at school and loves sports. At home she is the middle child with two brothers who are very close in age. She loves them both dearly, but they know who the boss is. Her passion is teaching her cat Chloe new tricks, art projects and she admires architecture, with aspirations of one day being a fine home architect.

Maddie Owens-2021

1 of 2
Maddie Owens of Winton, CA is a fun-loving, social young lady who is always up for a prank! She will try just about anything once and horses are her first love. She has dreamed about being a barrel racer for years and also enjoys crafts like coloring and making jewelry. Recently, she tried her hand at acting. While she is home she enjoys taking care of the family's chickens and training her dog, Peanut.

Maddie is an eleven year old Ewings Sarcoma survivor who is finished with chemotherapy and undergoing scans every 6 months. She was diagnosed in August of 2020.

Maddie had a great time in Vegas in 2021

1 of 4

Past Champions

Julian Castillo-2019

1 of 3
Here is Julian's story as told by his father, Jose: I will never forget the day that I heard the words “Your son has cancer.” In 2017, my son Julian was diagnosed with Leukemia. My world started to spin as Julian was hospitalized and went into liver failure at Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital Stanford. Intubated and on a dialysis machine with almost no chance of surviving, we hoped and kept faith that Julian would make it through.

With the help of some amazing doctors and the support of our family, friends, community, and Jacob’s Heart, Julian is now in the maintenance phase of his treatment. As my family adjusts to life outside of the hospital, we have found comfort in being able to celebrate Julian for being a survivor.

2018 Golden Circle of Champions- History

2019 Golden Circle of Champions Las Vegas
1 of 12
The California Rodeo Salinas was selected to participate in the first ever Golden Circle of Champions (GCC) trip in Las Vegas this past December. The GCC originated in Santa Maria at the Elks Rodeo and is now going national. Ten rodeo committees selected a child who was a cancer patient or survivor to travel to Las Vegas for an exclusive luncheon with Wrangler National Finals Rodeo contestants and one performance of the WNFR.

We selected 6 year old Isabella (Bella) Varela who is a survivor of a rare cancer. Read her story, written by her mother, Nancy, HERE. Bella survived LCH at a young age. LCH or Langerhans Cell Histiocytosis is a type of cancer that can damage tissue or cause lesions to form in one or more places in the body.

Watch the video to the left that recaps the events in Las Vegas. Bella and her family had a wonderful time and we look forward to participating in the GCC again in 2019 at the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo.

Julian had a great time in Las Vegas

1 of 8

Special Thanks to Our All Around Grand Champion Sponsors

Back to