Chowchilla kicks off 59th annual Western Stampede

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It's a traffic jam like no other, except instead of four wheels hitting the pavement it's four hooves. (KFSN)

It's a traffic jam like no other, except instead of four wheels hitting the pavement it's four hooves.

The wet weather didn't drive away any cowboys or cowgirls from lining Chowchilla's Main Street for the 59th annual Chowchilla Western Stampede Friday. In fact, according to Grand Marshall Bob Ragsdale, it added to the authenticity.

"This is one of the main things that we do out here in Chowchilla," Ragsdale explained. "We rope in cowboy country, it's tradition."

He says the original stampede was caused by heavy rain and the river flooding. "As they came into town, there really was no plan to go down Main Street," he said. "But the closer they got they said hey let's take it down Main Street."

It may have started by accident, but committee members say planning for the time-honored tradition takes the full year.

"Were doing our best to keep it going and want our kids to at least have the ability to keep it going and then the next generation along the opportunity is there for them," committee member Tommy Martin explained.

Staying true to her roots, Little Miss Chowchilla Western Stampede title holder Matie Cardoza got her first horse when she was 7. "My family has been in the western culture forever and it's kind of like carrying on the family tradition," Cardoza said.

As for our tiniest title holder,"how do you get up there, that's pretty tall?" an Action News reporter asked Jodi Saylor. "My mom helps me," she answered.

The stampede sets the stage for the weekend-long team roping events at the fairgrounds.
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