Chowchilla is one of only three communities in the country where yearly cattle drives still exist.
First there's the beauty of the Western Stampede, featuring the queen and her court. They're followed by the beasts as roughly one hundred head of cattle, hoof it down Robertson Boulevard.
Cowboys and cowgirls in training paraded in just before show time. A first time stampede viewer from Merced Jeanette Carey was in place super early. "We got here by 8:30 and then we thought we missed it and it was another day, but it's really worth it. This was great. I love it."
The seasoned veterans like Soledad Rubio brought chairs to watch the cattle drive. It's an event that lasts no more than a couple of minutes. "I was hoping for a little more cows, cows, steers whatever you want to call them. But it's worth it."
The chairman of the Western Stampede Shane Barnes rode tall in the saddle. "It's an experience like no other. I mean we are one of three towns left in the United States that still do it."
It's not a stampede without a cattle run. Now the real competition begins at the fairgrounds. This weekend these steers will be giving roping teams a real workout. More than one hundred teams will be competing for cash prizes.