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Rodeo returns to Penn Valley

The 63rd Penn Valley Rodeo is back in the saddle for the first time in two years this Friday and Saturday.

The Penn Valley Community Rodeo Association Board hosts Penn Valley’s biggest event of the year. Events over the two-day period include livestock and horses with Four Star Rodeo battling the California Cowboys Professional Rodeo Association’s cowboys and cowgirls in bull riding, bareback bronc, saddle bronc, barrel racing, roping and steer wrestling, said Teresa Dietrich, with the rodeo board.

Scottie Giannotti, who works at Penn Valley True Value Hardware, said he’s been attending the event since 1998.

“I’ve been riding and training all my life,” Giannotti said of his love for horses. “I started in the Bay Area, down in Woodside, then I moved up here.”

This year’s rodeo will be the first Giannotti attends solely as an audience member, he said, adding that he is looking forward to watching the bull riding.

“I’ve helped out so many years, but this year I’m going to watch rodeo with my kids,” Giannotti said.

Gladys Martines, owner of the Penn Valley Shopping Center and organizer of the area’s Cowboy Christmas each year, is this year’s grand marshal for the event, Dietrich said.

According to a press release, Martines has helped save and rehabilitate 41 horses that were previously mistreated in the area.

The grand marshal is one of several community leaders who will ride in the rodeo’s Saturday parade, which will commence at 3 p.m. on Penn Valley Drive, near Western Gateway Park, to the rodeo grounds.


Giannotti said he is eager to celebrate the rodeo alongside the community he has helped build since he arrived nearly three decades ago.

“Not having the rodeo hurt a lot of people, because it’s a beautiful time,” Giannotti said. “I’m excited as all get up to have it come back.”

This year the rodeo will feature local beer and wine, including Bullmastiff Brewery products.

Dietrich said the Penn Valley Rodeo benefits many nonprofit organizations, including the Knights of Columbus, which is providing the barbecue; the NU Football Boosters at the ticket booths, as well as with the hotdogs and hamburgers; Ready Springs School PTC at the Snack Shack; Kare Crisis Nursery at Dr. Sarah’s Pie Booth; Penn Valley Little League will handle the parking; and the Nevada County 4-H Horse Project will serve root beer floats.

Dietrich said she is looking forward to the silent auction for two locally made quilts from T-shirts affiliated with the events and the area.

“These quilts were lovingly sewn by local quilter Dena Ringen and donated as fundraiser before the pandemic, and the rodeo board is proud to feature these works of art at the rodeo,” Dietrich said, adding that Saturday’s silent auction will feature a Henry commemorative rodeo rifle.

Dietrich said the rodeo grounds require constant maintenance by volunteers and in-kind sponsors. This year, the rodeo received a grant from the county that allowed the association to make much needed repairs to the bleachers and the bridge.

Dietrich said the rodeo association is currently looking for a tractor to be donated or a grant to purchase one in order to make it more affordable to hold events.

Rebecca O’Neil is a staff writer with The Union. She can be reached at roneil@theunion.com


What: Penn Valley Rodeo

When: Gates open at 5 p.m., rodeo at 7 p.m. Friday; gates open at 3 p.m., rodeo at 5:30 p.m. Saturday

Where: Penn Valley Rodeo Grounds, behind the Penn Valley Fire Protection District headquarters, 10513 Spenceville Road, Penn Valley

Tickets: Advanced tickets are available online at http://www.pvrodeo.com and in person at the Tack Room, 17356 Penn Valley Drive; True Value Hardware Store, 17387 Penn Valley Drive; True Value Fence and Ranch Supply, 17493 Penn Valley Drive; Java Dream, 11434 Pleasant Valley Road; and Bullmastiff Brewery, 10183 Commercial Ave., all of Penn Valley; and Salon 174, 438 Colfax Ave., Grass Valley. Advance tickets are $15 for adults. Tickets at the gates will be $20. Tickets for children 12 and under are $5 and under 6 are free.



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