Rodeo talent hailed from all along the Colorado River basin, across the great divide and even Hawaii for 2018's Cattle Call but sometimes a treasure is hidden in plain sight.
Drawing on local talent, the Cattle Call Committee also called on local stand-out performers.
Singing the Star Spangled Banner this year was Michaela Abatti. Just 20, Abatti is a student at Long Beach State University aiming to become a special-education teacher. Preparing to sing the National Anthem from the platform next to the announcer's grandstand at the rodeo on Nov. 10 and 11, Nov. 9 saw her doing a sound check.
"The committee saw some of my videos on Instagram and they invited me to do the National Anthem," Abatti said of how she came to the rodeo's attention.
"I'm really excited and appreciate they're asking,” she added. “I've been to the rodeo every year. My grandpa (farmer Ben Abatti) loves the rodeo. I'm really happy to do this and I'll show him a video of this."
Abatti has performed at the California Mid-Winter Fair & Fiesta during the stock car races, as well as at Relay for Life cancer fundraisers and especially enjoys performing for charity events. She's partial to country music but sings in a variety of styles.
"I really like the rodeo because it brings everybody together," Abatti stressed. "And I get to see all my cousins and there's a lot of us the same age. It's the one
event you can count on everybody and also bring your friends from college down and they think the (Imperial) Valley's really exciting."
Also having audio levels checked was award-winning announcer Randy Corley. He was a 2017 inductee to the Pro Rodeo Hall of Fame and has been selected the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association Announcer of the Year 12 times.
"I look forward to a place you're welcomed back to. People are very friendly here," said Corley. "At the rodeo, you always look for something that hasn't happened before, and that can happen at any performance."
Corley has announced the Cattle Call Rodeo approximately two dozen times and does about 20 shows a year. Most of those are the standard PCRA events yet some are larger, such as the San Antonio Rodeo that consists of 24 events or the Pendleton Rodeo that runs for four days.
"Every rodeo is big," said Corley. "This rodeo is huge--it's a celebration. You get lots of people from San Diego and it’s at the same time every year."
Carson Kalin, of the Cattle Call Rodeo committee, noted the organization is a nonprofit and Cattle Call Park where the rodeo is staged is its charity. All proceeds from the 62nd annual event will go into park improvements. That, he stressed, is the legacy of the original four committee members who likely did not envision the rodeo would be as big as it is today.
"It's the biggest event in Imperial Valley," said Kalin. "It brings in millions of dollars into Brawley every year. And over the past 10 years, through the generosity of our sponsors, we've made $1 million of improvements to the Cattle Call Park."