Women, Frontier Days in Pacifica

Women as well as men enjoyed Frontier Days in Pacifica. Photo courtesy Pacifica Historical Society

Life on the Coastside has long had an element of horses and horsemanship. Formal recognition of this was called “Western Days” held in October at the Linda Mar Shopping Center in 1962 (and perhaps somewhat earlier).  

By 1964, the event was renamed “Frontier Days” and shifted to Saddletown, in northeast Linda Mar, with a modest rodeo that included a junior gymkhana, greased pig scrambles for ages 8 and under, two-man horse relays, steer team roping, barrel racing, and a rescue race.

The Calera Creek rodeo arena

The Calera Creek rodeo arena was a sign that Frontier Days was growing through the 1960s and ’70s. File photo.

By 1967, the activities filled an entire week, with sponsorships by the Junior Chamber of Commerce, Chamber of Commerce and the Pacifica City Council. Activities included the Rodeo-by-the-Sea, a parade along Linda Mar Boulevard with bands from Terra Nova, Oceana, Westmoor and Jefferson high schools, and a Boy Scout motorcycle team. Saddletown was rebuilt to accommodate the rodeo and renamed the Coastside Corral. 

Then, 1974 brought a calendar shift to the week leading up to Labor Day weekend, plus the naming of a king and queen of the festivities. The Miss Rodeo contest was a preliminary to the Miss USA pageant.

The 1975 parade had a 1939 fire truck, a fife and drum corps, a bagpipe band, a group of Indian Guides (the YMCA program for boys and dads), a Dixieland band and more than 600 marchers.

Frontier Days in 1977 featured pony rides, parade floats, the Wells Fargo stagecoach, caricatures by Jack Matsuoka, a bass derby, trick riding and a Texas barrel race. Mayor Sid Lorvan on horseback served a ceremonial role for the now 10-day-long event. 

The first annual Stampede Fun Run came in 1978 along with log sawing, tug of war, stagecoach rides around Linda Mar Shopping Center, a petting zoo, square dancing in front of Linda Mar Hardware, beard growing, wild goat milking (for women), horseshoe pitching, “donkey” baseball, Brahma bull riding and Lions Club steak sandwiches. This expansion was driven by the efforts of the Chamber of Commerce and a lot of push by Chuck Gust. The rodeo was now drawing top cowboys.

The U.S. Navy and Concord Blue Devils drill teams marched in the 1979 parade, and Gust won the steer-riding event. 

The expanded 1982 Frontier Days moved to a new arena built along Calera Creek. Sponsored by the Professional Rodeo Cowboy Association, it brought in top cowboys from all over the country. 

Alas, the 1984 Frontier Days were canceled. It had become “too big a job for too few.”  Coastside

Jerry Crow is a member of the Pacifica Historical Society. To learn more about the organization, visit pacificahistory.org.

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