Rodeo livestock prepped for weekend heat


REDDING, Calif. - The 69th annual Redding Rodeo will see temperatures in the high 90s, a stark contrast from last year.

"Last year out of the four nights we had three nights of rain," Rodeo President Lee Luft said.

Stock contractor Jeff Davis of Four Star Rodeo said ground conditions are better for the animals when it's hotter.

"When it's raining and it's muddy we can't control the ground conditions and it's harder for the horses and bulls to buck," Davis said.

Although the heat may feel intense, local rodeo livestock are used to it.

"I'm from Cottonwood and so are my animals, so this doesn't bother them," Davis said. However, he still ensures they are prepared for hot days by keeping them well fed, hydrated and exercised.

"I take them back to the ranch at the end of the night," he said, which keeps them "fresh".

"There is a misconception out there that we treat them bad," Davis said. "If you treat them bad they won't perform for you and they're athletes just like anything else."

Doctor of Veterinary Medicine and owner of Cottonwood Veterinary Clinic Steve Loncosky said rodeo animals are well cared for by their handlers.

"We're here to keep the animals safe, and the people that provide those animals, and the people riding those animals, this is their livelihood, you know? They take very good care of their animals," Loncosky said. During the rodeo, he stays close by to attend to any animals who need medical attention. "It's not too hot right now, but it is warming up," he said. "You need to be careful, make sure that your horses are well-watered. If not, they can get colic." Equine colic is a condition in which a horse can suffer severe abdominal discomfort and may need surgery. "We do about ten to 12 colic surgeries every year," Loncosky said. "It all depends, you know, depends on the horse and the weather and the client." The cowboys are also well cared for, staying hydrated and chowing down inside the rodeo's hospitality tent. "There's plenty of water and Gatorade and things like that and the cowboys really appreciate it when they come to Redding," Luft said. "In fact, some of them are going, 'Man, it's hot down here,' and I say, 'We're just getting started, wait till next week.'" The Pro Rodeo Cowboy Association enforces their own set of rules to ensure rodeo livestock are being cared for properly. For more information, click here.
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