SILVER SPOONS, BUCKING BRONCOS
The late E. Paul Waggoner, heir to the half-million acre Waggoner Ranch, decided in 1945 that he wanted the best rodeo arena money could buy. With nothing (including a budget) to stand in his way, Waggoner proceeded to construct Vernon’s Santa Rosa Rodeo Grounds, a ninety-acre complex featuring an outdoor lighted rodeo arena, ten bucking chutes, roping chutes, a bandstand, announcer’s booth, and private owner’s box known as the “Crow’s Nest”. The grandstands, brought from the Arlington Downs Race Track, held a seating capacity of 4700 and an additional five bleachers provided seating for another 3,000 spectators. Nearby, Waggoner built a stud barn and horse stalls, offices, a vet clinic, corrals and pens, and a 28,000 square-foot, covered riding arena that also served as a dance floor complete with band stage. Waggoner’s notable quarter horse, “Poco Bueno”, even had his own private pen with a water vat for soaking his feet. Today, this historic rodeo complex continues to host the Santa Rosa Roundup, Vernon’s annual Santa Rosa Rodeo Grounds tradition begun in 1946.