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Cowboys and salsa headline Wild West Fest

CARLSBAD — North County residents donned their cowboy boots and hats for some old-fashioned Western fun at Carlsbad’s Wild West Fest on May 15.
Families flocked to the event, held at Leo Carrillo Ranch Historic Park, 6200 Flying L.C. Lane, which offered several hours of classic cowboy entertainment. Guests enjoyed pony rides, a rope toss and hearty bowls of chili that would make any cowboy proud.
In its second year, the event also offered a unique opportunity for local residents to explore the ranch property. Entertainment was scattered throughout the ranch grounds, allowing guests to check out the old stables and the still-decorated bedrooms.
“The Wild West Fest is used to create an awareness of Leo Carrillo Ranch — I don’t think a lot of people know that it’s here,” volunteer Dori Middlebrook said. “It’s another great offering from Carlsbad to have a fun, safe activity for the family.”
During the event, kids were challenged to ride a mechanical bucking bronco to see how long they could last before falling off. If they came to the event unprepared, kids could also decorate their very own hats that were fit for a real cowboy.
Live entertainment provided by the Wild Oats, an all-girl country band, had the crowd stomping its feet as they played classic Western tunes. Band member Judy Taylor also performed several gun spinning tricks that awed the crowd.
A new addition to this year’s event was the highly competitive Salsa-Making Contest, which had the crowd buzzing as they sampled more than 20 different entries.
The recipes were just as varied as the people who entered them, from a local’s fruit concoction to Chipotle’s roasted corn salsa.
Several local businesses also entered their salsa recipes into the contest, including the La Raza Salsa that was entered by Josh Cohen and Ross Mateer. “This is Ross’ family’s recipe,” Cohen said. Carlsbad restaurants like Pollos Maria and Senor Grubby’s also submitted their salsas, hoping to snag the “Best Restaurant Salsa” title.
Event guests were asked to the put their taste-testing skills to work and vote for the best salsas in a variety of categories, including “Best Presentation” and “Most Unique.”
“Trying out all the salsa was really nice,” said Michael Harper of Calavera Hills, who was joined by his whole family in sampling the different entries. “It’s fun and the kids love it.”
For more information on upcoming Carlsbad events, visit