Rawhide 

Rowell Ranch Rodeo saddles up

SAT 5/10

Flag-waving, smiling politicians, and a lot of BS -- just a few of the things that you can expect in abundance at the Rowell Ranch Parade and Rodeo. For 22 years, Castro Valley has been celebrating the unofficial start of summer with festivities that stretch over two weekends. This year's theme is "Old West to New Frontier." It's tough to dispute the wholesomeness of a good old-fashioned Western-style parade down Castro Valley Boulevard. This is followed by a traditional rodeo featuring bull riding, saddle bronco riding, bareback riding, cow milking, and barrel-racing, all performed by top cowboys and cowgirls from the national rodeo circuit. The Rowell Ranch Parade is Saturday at 10 a.m. Rowell Ranch Rodeo is May 17-18. Info: 510-581-3577. -- Tony Hayes

MON 5/12

Giant Steps

Back from the South

As you read this, the Giants should be blazing a path of destruction through the South, bringing their own brand of shock and awe to the Florida Marlins and Atlanta Braves. But next Monday (7:15 p.m.), the Team from Over There will come home to face an interesting opponent, the resurgent Montreal Expos, featuring scratch golfer and ex-Giant Livan Hernandez. After that three-game series, manager Art Howe's mud-ugly NY Mets come into town. Should be easy pickings -- anybody who has to platoon Tsuyoshi Shinjo and Timo Perez in center field is in bad trouble. While in Pac Bell Park, or whatever they're calling it this year, you'll notice it's begun to acquire a real ballpark patina of French-fry grease and stale beer stains. Now if only they could get rid of those guys in pressed khakis and brand-new team jackets talking into their cell phones. www.sfgiants.com -- Kelly Vance

THU 5/8

Go Fish

Explore the leisurely art of fly-fishing -- tying flies, fly-casting, falling into creeks, bragging about trout, fleeing from bears -- vicariously this Thursday evening when the Grizzly Peak Fly-Fishers hold their monthly meeting at the Kensington Community Center (59 Arlington Ave., Kensington). The nonprofit org is dedicated to conservation, education, and fishing, and the program for the May meeting is a "Fly-Tying Extravaganza and Auction," with expert tyers showing off their skills fashioning tackle from a few feathers, some thread, and a hook. In addition to a fly-tying demonstration for beginners (6:30 p.m.), the club offers a light dinner (7:00) for a nominal price -- first come, first served. -- Kelly Vance

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