Barbara Balentine – Supporter/Contributor
Barbara Balentine has tirelessly promoted the California Rodeo Salinas for almost four decades. Her loyalty and devotion to this organization is unmatched. She worked as the lone clerical person in the office, marketing coordinator and sponsorship coordinator, all while volunteering for other organizations in the community. She’s helped organize the Rodeo’s Cowboy Shoot Out golf tournament, now known as the Larry Balentine Memorial Cowboy Shoot Out, since its inception in 1989. As sponsorship coordinator, she worked with President Al Hansen to develop what is still one of the most elite sponsor hospitality programs in the industry. Barbara’s spirit and spunk along with her dedication to the California Rodeo are well known in Salinas and the rodeo world. Barbara officially retired in the fall of 2020, but refuses to actually ever leave the California Rodeo family. She enjoys having a cocktail or two with her friends and spending time with her children, grandchildren and great grandchildren.
Joe Baumgartner – Contract Personnel/Performer
Joe Baumgartner is a legend in the rodeo world. A native of the San Francisco Bay Area who didn’t become involved in rodeo until his high school years, Baumgartner was a natural at his chosen profession from the beginning, always driven by the single purpose of keeping bull riders safe from injury.* He was one of the toughest bullfighters of all time, with a career spanning three decades that included protecting cowboys here in Salinas for 18 years. Prior to fighting bulls in Salinas, Joe worked on the livestock crew behind the chutes. He was named the Professional Rodeo Cowboy Association’s bullfighter of the year three times and was nominated by the cowboys to fight bulls at both the National Finals Rodeo and Professional Bull Riding Finals for 14 years. He put his life on the line at several other prestigious rodeos such as the Reno Rodeo, St. Paul Rodeo, Red Bluff Round Up, Clovis Rodeo and many more. He retired in 2011 after fighting bulls at the Pendleton Roundup for the 19th time.* Joe lives with his wife Melanie in Las Vegas, NV and they have two sons, Robert and Joey.
*Info courtesy of the Pro Rodeo Hall of Fame.
Bill Martinelli – Contestant
Bill Martinelli was a native Californian and lived much of his life in Oakdale, CA the self-proclaimed Cowboy Capital of the World. He attended California Polytechnic University, San Luis Obispo where he was part of the rodeo team and he served in the Army from 1958-1960. Bill won the Salinas saddle bronc riding title three times in 1965, 1971 and 1972, earning him the Governor’s Award which was given to 3-time California Rodeo Salinas champions. He loved competing in Salinas and considered it to be one of the most prestigious rodeos he ever participated in. He also team roped in Salinas for many years, traveled to many other rodeos across the United States and was part of Buster Ivory’s Rodeo Far West show in Europe. Bill qualified for the National Finals Rodeo 8 times, winning the average once. Bill passed away in May of 2020 and is remembered for being a humble storyteller as well as an outstanding cowboy. He is survived by his wife Kay, his four daughters, numerous grandchildren and two great granddaughters.