Cowboy Country 

The hills are alive with the sound of mooing


A thirty-minute drive from Berkeley transports you back to the days when central Alameda County was all farms and ranchland, a BBQ dinner-dance brought out the whole town, and every cowgirl dreamed of being crowned Rodeo Queen. Rodeo Week, described by some as Castro Valley's major social event of the year, kicks off this weekend with the Rotary Club's Chili Cook-Off on Friday evening and the Rodeo Parade on Saturday, and culminates with the 84th Annual Rowell Ranch Rodeo next weekend. Harry Rowell, known as "the Rodeo King of the West," hosted the first Hayward Rodeo in 1921. Today's rodeo still retains its down-home character at his former Dublin Canyon ranch, now a park in the Hayward Area Recreation & Parks District.

Wednesday, May 12 is Celebrity Team Penning, followed by a BBQ and dance. The Professional Rodeo Cowboys' Association preliminary events start Friday, May 14 at 9 a.m., with local cowboys and cowgirls roping and wild-cow milking at 5 p.m. (free admission). Next Saturday and Sunday, gates open at 10 a.m. for the professional rodeo, with the grand entry at 1:30 p.m. Expect to see bronco riding, team roping, barrel racing, and, of course, rodeo clowns. Events will be presided over by rodeo queen Amanda Moore of Livermore. Advance tickets ($25 for a family package) at Rowell's Saddlery, 3473 Castro Valley Blvd., Castro Valley, 510-581-2577; or at the gates to the arena. Rowell Ranch Rodeo Park, 9711 Dublin Canyon Road, Hayward. -- Annika Dukes

SAT 5/8

Hit Parade

Martial Island

Kuk Sool Won of Alameda is celebrating its fourth year as first-place school in the World Kuk Sool Association's San Francisco Tournament -- and, incidentally, its tenth anniversary -- with a free Korean Martial Arts Exhibition Saturday afternoon. At the annual SF competition, Alameda head instructor Erik Lee accepted the trophy on behalf of the 87 Alameda martial artists who won 137 medals in the SF competition. This Saturday at 2 p.m., see Korean martial arts masters from around the Bay Area perform traditional sword, staff, and hand forms. 1916 Stanford St., Alameda. Info: or 510-769-0939. -- Kelly Vance

SAT 5/8

Cougars on the Links

If the current public school budget cutbacks keep up, events like Saturday's Cougar Golf Classic could become a permanent fixture on the prep sports scene. Which might not be a bad thing after all. At 12:30 p.m. at the Tilden Park Public Golf Course in Berkeley, the Albany High School Baseball Boosters are hosting their second annual golf benefit. Competing foursomes will play best ball from a shotgun start, and golfers of all skill levels are welcome. The $135 per player fee includes green fees, a cart (skip it and walk!), prizes, and a dinner afterwards. For further information, phone 510-525-2608 or e-mail -- Kelly Vance


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