Rodeo is a sporting event that pairs man and beast in what is often a very physical contest. For the animal it is a natural environment where he tests his limits against any force of nature or man. For the contestant it is a choice to test his limits against the unknown. At the Annual Lakeside Rodeo they come together in this arena as opposed to the corral, the ranch or the plains. Welcome to the Lakeside Rodeo Arena, with its long and varied history and its undisputable value to the “Youth of Lakeside”.
It all startedJuly 5th of 1920 when the first rodeo was held in Lakeside. Organized by resident Bill Kuhner, it was held on the property of Emil Klicka, just south of Lindo Lake in a makeshift arena. Rodeos were held in makeshift arenas for several years, some arena set ups were created by ringing a fence area with autos. For several years there was no rodeo, but after the ownership of Lindo Lake was settled, in celebration rodeo returned to Lakeside in 1933 using bleachers left over from the days of car racing around Lindo Lake. The "Lakeside Rodeo Association" was formed. Under the guidance of renown local blacksmith Tom LaMadrid, the rodeo was moved to an area west of what is now Channel Road (current area location of Café 67) , where the organizers built a covered grandstand, chutes and fences. 3 to 4 rodeos were held each year.
In 1958 demolition of the rodeo grounds began to make room for commercial construction. The grandstand, fences and walls were torn down and Lakeside’s Rodeo might have become past history were it not for the organization of the Lakeside Stadium Association
In the mid 1960’s a group of parents were trying to organize fundraisers to build a lighted football stadium for the El Capitan High School. Parents, teachers and school officials included Arthur Sattler, Donald Foster, M.R. Murry Jr., Russell Savage, John Barrons, Reg Kuhner, Tom La Madrid Sr., Lee Bowen, John Burns, Roy Crane, Anna Curley, Paul Clay, Tom and Jody Hostetler, Charles Perkins along with many others whose names have been lost, or forgotten, yet their legacy lives on. The parents of students attending, or about to enter the high school, wanted to make sure that the school provided the same level of services as the other schools within the growing district and, with the district building another high school at that time, money was just not available to provide sports facilities for the students of El Capitan. The totally volunteer group, organizing themselves under the title of “El Capitan Stadium Association”, eventually met with a long time resident cowboy of Lakeside, Mr. Ben Bruton, and he suggested once again putting on a rodeo for a fundraiser.
Rodeo became an Annual event! The first rodeo for the newly formed Stadium Association was held in the spring of 1964. There were no rodeo grounds, so Ben found temporary seating, chutes as well as fencing and put on a rodeo in a vacant field much like it was done in the past. The event was successful enough that the Stadium Association decided that they could do this every year as long as they had a place to hold the event.
In 1966 the El Capitan Stadium Association was formally incorporated as a “not for profit” organization.
An Incredible Gift.....In December of 1969, Mrs. Marion Carlson approached the organization and gifted 8 acres of vacant land, the current site of the Rodeo facility, to the group for fundraising for Youth and to hold the Rodeo.
Through the years, although members (volunteers) left and new members (volunteers) joined, the group remained focused and completed the building of the football field, lighting, bleachers and concession stands for the High School.
Along with the school improvements, the group started working on building the Lakeside Rodeo Arena as a permanent fixture in the community. During that time, the Stadium Association began the annual leasing of a portion of the rodeo land to the Grossmont Union School District to allow El Capitan High School to build and maintain an Agricultural Department and in 2012 Grossmont Union School District gained ownership of that area to remodel and create an outstanding Agricultural education center.
The 1980’s were busy for the Stadium Association The Eastern San Diego County Junior Fair had been held for decades at Gillespie Field, but was asked to relocate. The Fair Board and The Stadium Association got together and went to the Grossmont Union School District, where they asked to lease a piece of land directly behind the now existing Rodeo Grounds next to the track. That lease was fully granted to the Stadium Association and then the Association sub-let to the Fair Board for the “Jr. Fair” to be held on-site each year. The annual "Jr Fair" is the gateway to the San Diego County Fair for livestock and Home Arts Youth Exhibitors.
In the late 1980’s the El Capitan Stadium Association felt that the high school was not the only entity in the community that needed their help. The Association changed their Constitution to benefit the “Youth of Lakeside”.
How has the Association doing business as Lakeside Rodeo impacted Lakeside? Youth sports has acquired improvements to their individual fields and outfitting in uniforms of their teams. The members assisted the Eastern San Diego County Jr. Fair in building their current facility and each year we continue to financially participate in the Fair auction to help the FFA and 4-H participants sell their individual projects. The ECSA provides annual scholarships to graduating seniors and encouragement scholarships to eighth grade students to keep them focused on completing their education. Special needs summer programs are funded as are playgrounds at schools, gardens grown by students and desperately needed text books the District cannot afford. Reading Is Fundamental book giveaway, Our Town, Every 8 Seconds, journalism classes, auto mechanics, drafting, computers and fiber networks along with printers, Breakfast with Santa, Boy Scouts, student leadership and countless other needs are met by the Association.
In the most recent 7 years, over $250,000 was donated to the Lakeside Community Youth.
The Association remains a totally volunteer group of concerned citizens who live in San Diego County, CA. We are just like you who are willing to dedicate a few hours and labor at the grounds to ensure that the Youth of Lakeside receive every advantage possible for a bright future in education, sports, the arts, social and community groups.
Let's work together to keep the dream alive....Membership is FREE and we welcome you to join today!
Do You Have Any Historical Lakeside RodeoThe ECSA, parent host of the Lakeside Rodeo is always in search of historical documentation of Lakeside Rodeo, especially photos and posters dating from 1920's.
Photos or Memorabilia?
San Diego rodeos have a long history in the communities located in East County. If you have any pre-1980's photos or documents regarding Lakeside Rodeo, or San Diego rodeos in general, that you wish to share please contact the Association at 619-561-4331 and leave a message with your name, your contact information and what items you think may be of value to the request.
As Lakeside Rodeo is a non-profit, we do ask that you consider a donation of your item, or an agreed sharing of your item, for the promotion of the Lakeside Rodeo and in support of the Youth of Lakeside.