The Past, Present and Future of the Red Bluff Round Up
By Melissa Mendonca
Since 1926 Dusty Boots & Faded JeansApril 2016
Story by Melissa Mendonca
Photos by Manda Reed
When Kathy Sibert gives a tour of the Red Bluff Round Up Museum, she gives a bit of her family history, as well. There’s no way around it. The museum itself is a project her father Jim Froome, who served as president of the Red Bluff Round Up Association from 1955-1991, worked toward with great passion. When he died in 1996 as president emeritus, donations in his memory were directed toward the museum.
“This was my dad’s dream,” she says. “When I was about 13, he told me we needed a place for our pictures and memorabilia.” That dream was realized in 2000, when the museum opened behind the Round Up business office.
“When people heard we were doing a museum, they would get their pictures and bring them in,” she says, noting that the museum has also purchased an extensive collection of photos from the Western Heritage Museum in Oklahoma City. It’s been quite an effort to procure a pictorial history of the rodeo that is turning 95 years old this month.
With so many of rodeo’s finest cowboys and bucking stock making their way through the Round Up over the years, there are prints of everything from the famous bronc Warpaint in action to a young Slim Pickins bullfighting in a matador costume. There’s even a print of John Wayne watching the show from inside in the arena.
Among the displays are miniatures of famed rodeo clown Homer Holcomb and his donkey Park Your Carcass, both created for the World’s Fair at Treasure Island. There’s a trick saddle used by Paul Soncrat in 1948 and a bronze sculpture of 1963 World Champion bareback rider John Hawkins on Cream O Kentucky.
“They need to know their heritage, not just of the Round Up, but of Tehama County,” Sibert remembers her dad telling her. While she and the Round Up Committee have worked hard to bring that dream to fruition, one of the most prized possessions of the museum these days might be a piece of its very recent history.
On August 6, 2015, the Red Bluff Round Up earned its place of honor at the Pro Rodeo Hall of Fame in Colorado Springs, an event 27 Tehama County locals traveled to experience. “It’s a real privilege to get in,” says Round Up Committee Member Harvey Camacho.
Camacho was instrumental in writing the applications of both the Round Up Committee and Red Bluff bullfighter Joe Baumgartner, who was inducted in 2013. It’s more than longevity that earned the Red Bluff Round Up its place in the Hall of Fame. “It’s a favorite amongst cowboys,” says Camacho. “It’s in that ring of rodeos cowboys want to go to,” he adds, noting that Red Bluff is right up there with places like Cheyenne, San Antonio, Fort Worth and Cody, all legendary rodeos for top cowboys.
“Numerous cowboys who are inductees have attended our rodeo,” says Camacho, adding that there’s a great chance to see the best rodeo athletes, both human and animal, at the Red Bluff Round Up.
It’s a combination of elements that makes the three-day event so special, starting with the fact that it’s held early in the rodeo season, when the livestock is fresh and before the grueling schedule sets in for summer. “Everything is new, everything is ready to buck,” says Camacho. “It all comes together.” Cowboys might also choose to stay the whole week, as the event marks one of the first times in the season they can all get together.
Of course, money is always a motivation, and the committee makes sure to offer top dollar to winners, who can count a nice purse amongst their tally toward qualification for the National Finals Rodeo in Las Vegas, which is based off of money earned through the season.
There’s also the fact that the entire community seems to get involved in the Round Up, offering the famed 11 Days of Rodeo, with everything from a golf tournament to chili cook off to a parade and much more.
Just as Kathy Sibert carries on the work of her father at the Round Up Museum, Harvey Camacho is watching his youngest son, Colby, enter the rodeo business by providing calves and steers to area rodeos. “Every generation turns over,” says Camacho. Scanning the exhibits of the Round Up Museum, a look of pure pride on her face, Sibert adds, “It’s just so amazing to be here. So many memories.”
Red Bluff Round Up Museum
670 Antelope Blvd., Suite #2
Red Bluff Round Up
Tehama District Fairgrounds