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Rancho Mission Viejo Rodeo Shut Down by Livestock Virus

Rancho Mission Viejo Rodeo Shut Down by Livestock Virus

Tyler Smith of Fruita, Colo., hangs on as his bull flies through the air during the Bull Riding competition of the 16th Annual Rancho Mission Viejo Rodeo in San Juan Capistrano, Calif., in 2016. (Courtesy of the Rancho Mission Viejo Rodeo)

Julianne Foster

Julianne Foster

8/4/2023

Updated: 8/6/2023

The Rancho Mission Viejo Rodeo in San Juan Capistrano has been canceled, rodeo officials recently announced, due to the spread of a virus in Southern California that harms livestock.
The event had been scheduled for Aug. 26 and 27.
According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), there are over 100 reported cases in six counties of the region of what’s known as Vesicular Stomatitis, which gives livestock a loss of appetite, lameness, and a loss of milk production in dairy cows.
The affected counties are Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside, San Bernadino, San Diego, and Ventura.
“This is a difficult and heartbreaking decision, but it is also the correct decision given the continued spread of the [the virus],” said Tony Moiso, chairman and CEO of Rancho Mission Viejo. “The safety of our beloved animals and participants has always been—and always will be—our main concern.”
There are 131 suspected and confirmed cases of the virus since the start of an outbreak in May, according to the USDA. Currently, the agency is reporting 44 positive and 86 possible cases in Southern California, with one case confirmed in Orange County.
The rodeo, which has been staged for over 20 years, was also canceled in 2020 and 2021 due to the COVID-19 pandemic but returned in 2022, which sold out.
The ranch, which operates the annual two-day rodeo, has raised over $2.8 million from the event for local charities, such as the Children’s Hospital of Orange County at Mission Hospital and the Boys and Girls Club of Capistrano Valley.
“Although canceling this year’s rodeo is disappointing, our planning team will begin working on next year’s event,” said Gilbert Aguirre, executive vice president of ranch operations for Rancho Mission Viejo.
The ranch is in the process of refunding tickets and sponsorships purchased for this year’s rodeo.
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Julianne Foster

Julianne Foster

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