"Horrific" Sight: Horse Violently Crashes Into Barricade On First Night Of San Diego Rodeo At Petco Park

January 13, 2024

On the first night of the San Diego Rodeo at Petco Park, the evening ended with a horse running full speed into a barricade and collapsing.

The inaugural San Diego Rodeo opened its first night to a packed house on an unusually cold evening at downtown's Petco Park. The show was going smoothly until the "Indigenous Relay Race" portion at the very end of the event.  On the first lap of the race, a female cowboy was bucked off her horse, then the  unmounted horse took off and ran directly into a metal safety barricade. The animal collapsed instantaneously as onlookers fell silent. The view of the horse was quickly blocked with a tarp, as the horse was slid into a trailer and trucked off the field. 

"I was there and saw it.. it was horrific," wrote one attendee. 

The San Diego Padres organization is hosting its first-ever rodeo throughout the weekend of January 12-14. The event is organized in partnership with C5 Rodeo Company Inc. and Outriders Present and features 12 contestants competing for $620,000 in prize money. The event has been controversial from its announcement, and many protestors were seen outside Petco Park on Friday night. 

Animal Protection and Rescue League, Inc. filed a lawsuit against the San Diego Padres and C5 Rodeo last November in an effort to halt the rodeo. The complaint contended that C5 Rodeo has previously used electric prods and other devices to shock animals which violates a state law that bans such mechanisms. Local attorney and activist Bryan Pease then filed documents seeking a temporary restraining order against the Padres and C5 Rodeo to stop ticket sales from taking place, claiming the rodeo would be violating San Diego's municipal code by allowing non-service animals at the ballpark. A judge ultimately concluded that municipal codes do not bar the Padres from sponsoring a rodeo inside Petco Park. 

We reached out to San Diego Padres CEO Erik Greupner, Vice President of Communications Craig Hughner and Director of Business Communications Danny Sanchez for more information and comment, but we did not receive a response by the time of publishing. 

Following the publishing of this article, San Diego Rodeo Livestock Welfare Director Jed Pugsley emailed the following statement:

"Following the first performance of the San Diego Rodeo a specialty act showcasing Indigenous Relay Race was held to honor the traditions, heritage and culture of the Native American people. During the event, a six-year-old race horse, Waco Kid, was injured after dislodging his rider and contacting the arena fence. The dislodged rider received minor bumps and bruises.

In an abundance of caution for both the wellbeing of the horse and the safety of arena personnel, the horse was removed from the arena via livestock ambulance and placed under the care of the San Diego Rodeo Veterinarian team. Since occurance of the incident, Waco Kid has been under constant veterinary care, treatment and observation. Initial exam performed by the Veterinarian team did not reveal any obvious signs of fracture or instability. 
This morning, Waco Kid was released back to his owners trust for further care, treatment and observation as dictated by the traditions, culture and heritage of their people. Waco Kid is owned by the Vigen Family of the MHA Nation. The Vigen family is a multi-generation Indigenous Relay Racing family who is proud to honor and continue the MHA culture."

The full video is below. Warning, the content is graphic.