GILROY (KPIX 5) — The Gilroy Community will be coming back together this weekend for the first large outdoor event since the Garlic Festival Shooting.
The Gilroy Rodeo is not a big pro-rodeo event, it’s more of a small community oriented, family-friendly event that some say sets the right tone for Gilroy to come back together.
“We can’t live out lives in fear. We’re Gilroy strong and I feel the Gilroy rodeo is the perfect event to bring everyone back together,” said Miss Gilroy Rodeo 2019, Corissa King.
King, a student at Fresno State University, says some questioned whether the event should be should be held coming less than two weeks after the Garlic Festival Shootings. But there was never a plan to cancel.
“Absolutely not. If we show we’re all coming back together, we’ll be perfectly fine,” said King.
The Gilroy Rodeo is only in its second year and is organized by rancher and Gilroy Rodeo President Eric Martin.
“I thought, ‘Let’s do something fun for the community,'” Martin said.
He turned his family’s old dairy farm into a rodeo grounds to celebrate Gilroy’s ranching roots.
“There’s so much history here around ranching and farming that to turn your back on that and just look at Silicon Valley, it doesn’t make sense,” Martin said.
But security will be beefed up.
“Sheriffs will be here, We’ll have mounted security, they’ll be armed. Deputies will be on motorcycles in the parking lot,” explained Martin. “The ratio of security will be higher here than in the Garlic Festival.”
Martin says communities need events like this now more than ever.
“I want the community to come together,” said Martin. “I’d like to get the kids in the dirt.”
The Gilroy Rodeo, which will feature amateur cowboys and local ranch hands, runs through Sunday at Martin’s ranch just off Highway 152.
It’s a non-profit event that raises money for local school programs such as Future Farmers of America.