Health and Safety Plan More Information  (hide notice)

Horseback riders riding over the grassy hill above Alisal Lake Horseback Riding Horseback Riding Horseback Riding Horseback Riding Horseback Riding Horseback Riding

The Alisal Rodeo

Join us at The Alisal, California’s premiere luxury dude ranch, for an authentic country fair and rodeo extravaganza every Wednesday and Friday evening at 5:30 pm during the summer. This curated western experience is perfect for the whole family and unlike any other rodeo in California, you will find. 

Our wranglers demonstrate a wide variety of rodeo events including roping, barrel racing, and team sorting. Adult team sorting lessons are even offered on rodeo day for intermediate and advanced riders who wish to participate in the team sorting competition. You can become a part of all the action, guaranteed to take your Santa Barbara ranch vacation to a whole new level.

Please contact our Concierge by emailing the team at ranchconcierge@alisal.com for more information—or to sign up! 

After the rodeo, enjoy our western-style BBQ at the arena, complete with live country music and dancing.

Events & Activities at The Rodeo

Roping

This energized event historically derives from the duties of real-life working cowboys, which often required catching and restraining calves for branding or medical treatment. Ranch hands took pride in the speed with which they could rope and tie calves. This tradition, along with modern technologies, eventually turned their work into more informal contests and rodeo events.

“This is one of the most fun and exciting rodeo events here at The Alisal for wranglers and guests alike! We wranglers take the competition seriously while always cheering each other on and making sure our guests know the historical importance of this event. You won’t want to miss it!” — Meghan Taylor, Head Wrangler

The Alisal exercises “Steer Stopping” in our roping methods; where steers are roped in the same manner as team sorting (read what that is below!). There is only one roper in the pen, and when they catch a steer, they’ll rope the steer then stop their horse—competing for the best time. But look out! There’s a five-second penalty if the roper leaves the pen too soon.

 

Barrel Racing

If you have yet to experience the beauty, precision, and athleticism of barrel racing – we invite you to be amazed by The Alisal team of professionals. Barrel racing is a classic rodeo event in which a horse and rider attempt to run a cloverleaf pattern around preset barrels in the fastest time. 

It combines the horse’s own athletic ability and ultimate horsemanship skills of a rider in order to safely and successfully maneuver the horse around three barrels placed in a triangle pattern within a large arena.

The most exciting part of a barrel race is the beginning—as the horse and rider enter the arena at top speed, through the center entrance, in dramatic and impressive fashion. Guests of all ages will find themselves on the edge of their seat, cheering on riders and horses alike as the two independent beings seemingly become one to defy speed in the arena.

 

Team Sorting

If you fancy yourself more of a “team sports” person – Team Sorting is for you. You’ll appreciate this western-style equestrian sport that evolved from traditional ranch work of separating cattle into pens for branding, doctoring, or transport. 

Sorting is an event that pits a team of two riders on horseback against the clock. Teamwork is the key—both riders are working in harmony to separate the “correct cattle” and drive them (in an orderly fashion!) to the pen… all while keeping the “wrong numbered cattle” back. 

There are several variations of ranch sorting with one, two or three riders on the team, but all require sorting the cattle from one pen to the other in the correct order.

Tip from The Alisal Wranglers: You can be included in this event if you want! That’s right – we encourage audience participation here at the rodeo. Adult team sorting lessons are offered on rodeo day for intermediate and advanced riders who wish to participate in the team sorting competition. Just speak with a Guest Services team member to get signed up! Yeehaw!

 

Take A Peek at Photos from The Rodeo!

 

Western-Style BBQ at The Arena

Dining at The Alisal never disappoints – whether it’s an extensive breakfast in The Ranch Room or a good old-fashioned western-style barbeque at The Arena. Enjoy traditional smoked, grilled, and barbecued meat and all the fixin’s after the excitement of the rodeo. It is, in our humble opinion, the best BBQ in California—heck, maybe even in all the west!

Our California BBQ venue is outdoors and features a full bar, as well as a stage for the full band and a welcoming dance area for beginner two-steppers and line-dance professionals alike.

Our head Chef, Anthony Endy, prepares each menu with thought and attention to detail. Special dietary considerations can be made ahead of time as well.

 

Live Country Music & Dancing at The Rodeo

Any California rodeo or country fair experience would be incomplete without country music and country-western dancing! Let our staff help you master your two-step, line-dance, or square-dance talents while you enjoy amazing music and an unbeatable night under the stars. 

The entire family will enjoy participating in this tradition, making your dude ranch family vacation a memorable one for years to come. 

Tip from The Alisal Wranglers: Don’t forget to pack those cowboy boots, English riding boots, or other hard, click-soled heeled shoes if you’re planning on horseback riding during your stay. Otherwise, the dress-code for heading to the rodeo is outdoor casual as long as you’re comfortable – but we like to encourage your best dude ranch-inspired, two-steppin’ motivated western wear!

The Alisal Rodeo Schedule

AVAILABLE SUMMER, WINTER HOLIDAY, AND SPRING BREAK: Wednesday and Friday — 5:30 pm

JUNE – AUGUST:

Wednesdays — 5:30 pm

Lessons at 12:30 pm

FALL RODEOS:

Friday evenings through November 5th

//GA cross-domain parameter for booking engine

Service Charges

The Alisal's 20% service charge is intended to eliminate the need for our guests to tip individual employees, as well as cover the cost of a variety of amenities provided to our guests. These include two water canteens and a bottle of Alisal wine at check-in, daily newspapers, complimentary WiFi internet access, fitness center, complimentary shuttles to and from Solvang village center, nightly hors d'oeuvres in the Oak Room bar, complimentary bicycles, wine tasting with Alisal wine partners, scheduled and seasonal entertainment and a variety of children's activities including barnyard and Kid's arts and crafts room.