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Meet the Committee: Lakeside Bulls Only
story by Lindsay Whelchel
Picture sunny southern California and your first thought might be lounging lazily on a beach, but the Optimist Club of Lakeside has something a little more action-packed in mind.
In its 18th year, the Lakeside Bulls Only Rodeo, presented by the Optimist Club, a non-profit organization that benefits the youth of the San Diego County community, has been bringing the thrills to SoCal eight seconds at a time.
Always held the third Saturday in July, this July 15-16 is gearing up to be bigger than ever, and they’ve upped the ante in added money for bull riders to $10,000.
“We have grown from just an east San Diego County rodeo to a county-wide rodeo. From start to finish it’s just 100 percent adrenaline. We’re bucking out 42 bulls a night. We also have the extreme bronc riders for wild horse racing and then the family favorite with the mutton busting,” explained Rodeo Chairman, Brent Woolsey.
“My most important [element] is just to see the reaction of the crowd with the intensity of our performances,” Brent enthused.
It’s perhaps an unexpected event in the beach community of San Diego, but it’s become beloved.
“San Diego is always considered by so many as just surf and sand,” he said but assured, “we do have our rural parts of San Diego. There is a lot of livestock in the east part of the county, and it’s just become so popular that the people anticipate being able to [attend],” he said. “There’s so much to do in San Diego between beaches and football and baseball and all kinds of events [but] they look forward to these special events like rodeo.”
It’s an all-volunteer effort in bringing the event to life.
“There’s nobody on the payroll. As far as production goes, we rely not just on our membership at the Lakeside Optimist Club but walk-on volunteers, from working snack bars, to security gates, so it’s a 100 percent volunteer effort.”
And that effort is all for a good cause to give back to the community and its youngest residents.
“It’s a fundraiser. The funds that we net from this are donated back to the youth of our community, whether it be the high school team needs gym equipment, all the way down to the young kid that can’t afford to go on a field trip, we provide funds for them in that way,” Brent explained, illustrating the far-reaching force of the sport of rodeo.
For more information visit BullsOnlyRodeo.com