Things to Do in Brawley California
Brawley is home to one of the finest Western celebrations in the United States. Through the years, Cattle Call has developed into an annual affair that affects the lives of thousands of people. Each year, an estimated 50,000 people converge on Brawley to enjoy the many special events.
Brawley Cattle Call began in 1956 to honor Imperial Valley’s cattle industry.
In order to implement the idea, the Chamber decided to make it a community-wide activity and a contest was held to propose a name. It was won by Mrs. Rex Hudson who submitted the name “Cattle Call.”
The “Cattle Call Committee” was then formed to plan and carry out the parade and other events and a “Rodeo Committee” was set to organize the rodeo.
The City of Brawley leased a 50-acre arena for the arena facility. Within less than two years, one of the finest rodeo grounds in the southwest was built, personally financed by private individuals of the community.
The arena facility continues to be improved on an annual basis through community efforts and the city maintains the grounds. Through the work of the Rodeo Committee, the Cattle Call Rodeo is now recognized as one of the best PRCA-sanctioned rodeos in the United States.
Promoted by the Brawley Chamber of Commerce, the Cattle Call Parade is now one of the largest western parades in the southwest.
The Chamber starts “Cattle Call” on the Saturday prior to the Rodeo with a Chili Cookoff. Events continue throughout the week with social events, cowboy poetry, Mariachi and Bluegrass music performances and a Beef Cook off. These events are all supported by sponsorships, coordinated by volunteers and enjoyed by thousands.
The Cattle Call Western Equestrian Parade sets a festive mood for the Rodeo weekend that features three Professional Rodeo Cowboy Association performances.
A visit to any part of the shoreline along the Salton Sea reveals one of the most alluring aspects of California’s largest lake: an abundance of birds and fish.graphic
That is why some scientists have called the Salton Sea both “California’s crown jewel of avian biodiversity” and perhaps the most productive fishery in the world.
At 35 miles long and 15 miles wide–with a surface area of nearly 380 square miles–the Salton Sea offers something for virtually anyone wanting to spend time outdoors. (By comparison, Lake Tahoe is 193 square miles and Mono Lake, 60 square miles.) It is available for recreation all year.
There are more than 400 species of birds that visit or live at the sea. The area teems with bird life because of its location along the Pacific Flyway and because it provides some of the few wetlands remaining in California. Birds also are attracted to the Salton Sea because of its rich and numerous food sources.
Fish eating birds such as the endangered Brown Pelican, the Double Breasted Cormorant, and various species of terns and gulls make up large and visible populations on the sea.
Also quite visible during the winter months are large numbers of ducks and geese, both on the sea and in adjoining fields and wetlands. Wading birds such as the Great Blue Heron and Egrets can be seen foraging in the fields and wetlands and roosting in snags near the sea.graphic
The endangered Yuma Clapper Rail may be heard but is rarely seen in the wetlands near the sea.
To a large degree, many of the birds, whether directly or indirectly, rely on the abundance of fish and invertebrates that live in the lake.
The abundance is due in large part to the presence of Tilapia, an important food source for birds and other fish. A popular game fish, they can weigh more than 3 pounds.
Orange Mouth Corvina were introduced from the Gulf of California and have become the chief game fish in the Salton Sea. Corvina can weigh up to 30 pounds and grow to 42 inches.
While the Salton Sea is known best for its fish and bird populations, it is also home to much more. There are 24 reptiles and over 20 mammals, with most species being found in the desert and riparian areas.
The Desert Tortoise and Fringed Toed Lizard are listed as sensitive species and the subject of intensive study and management. Mammals in the Salton Sea area include a wide variety of bat and mice species along with the typical desert dwellers such as coyotes, deer, bobcat and bighorn sheep.
On any given holiday weekend between the months of October and May, Brawley’s Main Street, restaurants and markets are crowded with visitors heading to or coming from one of the prime outdoor tourist locations in the Southwest: the Imperial Sand Dunes Recreation Area.
The heart of this area is the little community of Glamis, located about 40 miles east of Brawley on Highway 78. It has been said that Glamis offers some of the best – if not the best – duning in the United States.graphic
The dunes attract up to 40,000 people on the busiest holiday-and most of them head to the Glamis area.
The Imperial Sand Dunes, sometimes called the Algodones Dunes, are the largest mass of sand dunes in California. This system extends for more than 40 miles along the eastern edge of the Imperial Valley agricultural region in a band averaging five miles in width.
Rising to heights of over 300 feet above the surrounding desert floor, the dunes are a well-known landmark to local residents and the thousands of highway travelers who pass by them every year along Highway 78 or Interstate 8.
In addition to Glamis, other popular recreation areas are Mammoth Wash at the north end of the dunes on Highway 78 near Blythe and Buttercup Valley just south of Interstate 8 near the Mexican Border.
Parking pads and pit toilets are provided in Glamis at the Bureau of Land Management’s Gecko and Roadrunner Campgrounds, south of State Highway 78 on Gecko Road. Additional parking pads are provided along Gecko Road.
Vehicle camping is also permitted in all areas open to vehicle use. Reserving camping space is prohibited and sites are allocated on a first come, first served basis.
Recreation & Activities in Brawley
Brawley and the area around it is blessed with outstanding natural resources as well as man made recreation sites.
To the north is the Salton Sea, California’s largest lake with an abundant supply of bird watching, hunting, fishing, camping and boating opportunities.
To the east are the dramatic yet desolate sand dunes where off-road enthusiasts come from all over southern California to play.
The northern and western mountains provide a rugged and picturesque skyline that surrounds the relatively unspoiled desert mesa. Much of the land surrounding Brawley consists of rich irrigated farmland where acres of produce, livestock feed and seed crops contribute to the clean, fresh rural ambiance.
Our mild winter climate and the desert environment bring visitors for camping, hunting and fishing at nearby lakes. Recreational vehicles blanket the BLM (Bureau of Land Management) sand dune areas in pursuit of off-road leisure activities. Nearly every day boasts clean desert air, low humidity and lots of sunshine. Brawley offers a relaxed style of living intermingled with cultural advantages such as ethnic diversity, historical artifacts, arts, dance and music.
Brawley has 116.5 acres of developed parkland, a 20,000-square-foot, multi-use recreation facility, a Senior Citizen Center, an Olympic-size pool, night-lighted sports fields and tennis courts, and a professional rodeo arena and equestrian facility which is located on 56 acres.graphic
Recreation programs abound for youths as well as adults. Several groups and organizations work together to offer a variety of sports, cultural, recreational and special events activities. The annual Cattle Call Rodeo and Celebration is one example of this community spirit.
Golf Courses: Del Rio Country Club, 102 East Del Rio Road. This is an 18-hole golf course open to the public. For fees, call the Pro Shop at 344-0085.
Tennis Courts: Brawley has 10 tennis courts, four city-owned and six school-operated, all open to the public. Del Rio Country Club has two courts available to members.
Parks: Three mini-parks, six neighborhood parks and three community parks. Parks have barbecue areas, some with tennis courts, horseshoe pits, play sets, picnic benches and beautiful shade trees.
Swimming: The City has one Olympic-size swimming pool, open daily April through October. Wiest, Ramer/Finney Lakes are 10 miles northeast of Brawley and the Colorado River is 55 miles east; all have boating, swimming and fishing.
Palmer Performing Arts Center: Concerts and theater productions are staged throughout the year in this facility on the campus of Brawley Union High School.
A vibrant arts organization is bringing an array of performers and events to the north end of Imperial County. North County Coalition for the Arts (NoCCA) is now in its fourth year. Palmer Performing Arts Center in Brawley is the focus of arts activity here. The lobby is Palmer Art Gallery, and regularly features exhibits of local artists’ works. The auditorium, with 1,023 seats and a proscenium stage, is a perfect venue for musicals, concerts, rallies, plays and seminars. NoCCA renovated much of “Palmer” in 1998, and has since presented such fabulous performers as The Vienna Choir Boys, Poncho Sanchez Latin Jazz Band, the Kingston Trio, the Flying Karamazov Brothers, Festival of Four, Universal Ballet, Side Street Strutters Jazz Band, to name a few.
NoCCA’s programs for the schools have included Oregon Shakespeare Festival, Melissa Stevenson: storyteller, San Diego Opera Ensemble, Peter and the Wolf and Tales of the Ashanti, and workshops and student concerts by some of the above-named performers, and conducted choral and dramatic workshops in the schools.
NoCCA also provides an arts program for a Youth Opportunity grant from the U.S. Depart-ment of Labor, “Steps of Success,” targeting youths in the north end of the county.
The local community of performers has plenty of opportunity with NoCCA’s sponsorship and direction of plays, musicals and concerts. North County Players, North County Chorale and Orchestra, and the Imperial Valley Youth Choir join hands in various projects during the year.
To receive mailings, write NoCCA, P.O. 1253, Brawley, CA 92227.
Cattle Call Arena: Outdoor arena that seats 5,700 people. This is where the Brawley Cattle Call PRCA Rodeo is held. The arena is also used for team penning, calf roping and gymkhana events.
Lions Convention Center: Located at 225 “A” Street, it can hold 1,200 people. The Lions Center may be used for conferences, banquets and dances.
Senior Citizens Center: The Senior Center has seating capacity for 210 people. It is located at 8th and “J” Streets. Senior Citizens’ meals are served here. The Center may also be used for seminars.
Warne Football Field: Brawley Union High School football games are played here. Seating capacity is 4,000. Located at 2nd and “A” Streets.
Wiest Baseball Field: Located at 3rd and “A” Streets, the stadium has a seating capacity of 3,000. High school and Babe Ruth games are played here.
BRAWLEY PUBLIC LIBRARY
400 Main St., City Hall 344-1891
The Brawley Public Library contains fiction and non-fiction books, periodicals, records, tapes, videocassettes, computers and other material available to all members of the public. To obtain a library card, simply come to the library with a form of identification.
Special programs for children and teens are also available. The staff at the library will be happy to assist you.