California Rodeo Salinas Programs 1911 to 2019, and Interviews with Pat North Ommert, Marguerite Happy, and Bonnie Happy

As part of a project sponsored by California State University at Monterey Bay, we scanned all of the available programs for co-sponsors California Rodeo Salinas (1911 to present), the Monterey Jazz Festival (1958 to present), and the Carmel Bach Festival (1935 to present). These programs are kept in a restricted archive, which can be accessed by researchers.

In the California Rodeo Salinas 1931 program folder there was a letter from Pat North Ommert about Polly Burson. Out of the hundreds of programs we scanned for all 3 Festivals, it was the only one with a letter in it. The letter had a warmth and an intriguing picture from 1926. The letter was not written in 1931 – Polly Burson passed away in 2006 – and we do not know why it was in that location.

One thing led to another, and Pat North Ommert agreed to two interviews. The first interview was conducted on July 1, 2021. The second interview on July 9, 2021 included Pat and her good friends Marguerite Happy and Bonnie Happy. In addition to edited transcripts, audio recordings from both interviews are available in their entirety.

The California Rodeo Salinas is the oldest and largest music venue in Monterey County, and one of the top Rodeos in the world.

In the early days of cinema they needed stunt women, there weren’t a lot of female daredevils or extreme sportswomen as there are now. Except in rodeo, and especially trick riding. California Rodeo Salinas performers often became those stuntwomen. Raising the question, “What do the action sequences in movies that are performed by women mean to young women?”

Two other legendary women, also famous as trick riders and stuntwomen, Polly Burson and Edith Happy, are the subject of, and in some ways part of these discussions.


Browse the California Rodeo Salinas Collections:

Interviews with Pat North Ommert, Marguerite Happy, and Bonnie Happy