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Saddle up for junior rodeo fun today at Castro Valley's Rowell Ranch

48th annual Junior rodeois free, fun, exciting for all age groups, sponsors say

Pleasanton resident Ingrid Cuffe, 16, is reigning as Rowell Ranch Jr. Rodeo Queen today, where she is also competing.

Meanwhile she has been making appearances to promote the "western way of life" at other events, including the Livermore Professional Rodeo and the California State Fair.

Ingrid, a Pleasanton resident, has special cards with her photo and information to hand out to children.

"Most of them are kind of shy," she said. "But one will come up and then they all come up."

Ingrid, a junior at Foothill High School, is the daughter of Sonja and Jeff Cuffe. She began riding horses with her mother about five years ago, she said. She has also raised two Guide Dogs for the Blind.

"On the weekend you can find me on a trail ride, at a jackpot barrel race or hanging out with my friends," Ingrid states on the cards she hands out. "I'm a very happy-go-lucky person and love to laugh."

Perhaps that helped the judges choose her to be Rowell Ranch Jr. Rodeo Queen.

"I had to fill out an application, then there was a day with a personal interview with the judges," she recalled.

They also watched her ride a pattern, and noted how she was with people because being nice is part of the job.

At the rodeo she will compete on Loui, her 6-year-old chestnut quarter horse. They are signed up for barrel racing and pole bending. Barrel racing entails weaving around three barrels in a tight cloverleaf pattern, she explained. Pole bending is riding in and out of a line of poles.

She hopes old-timers and newcomers alike will come to the junior rodeo.

"Not only is the rodeo a great way to spend a beautiful summer weekend, but it's also an awesome way to spend time with your friends and family," she notes on her card. "The Rowell Ranch Jr. Rodeo is sure to keep you on the edge of your seat."

She observed that its activities come from a style of life which is important in this country.

"Rodeo is also unique because the anticipation and intensity can get to the point where the whole crowd is hoping the barrel racer can get a clean run and the bull rider can hold on for just more two seconds," she added.

RODEO FUN

What: Rowell Ranch 48th annual Jr. Rodeo.

When: Aug. 7-8

Where: Rowell Ranch, 9711 Dublin Canyon Road, Castro Valley

Cost: free

Information: (510) 541-6800

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