an event. We were already preparing in our heads and staging things on site just in case - like the pens, trash cans, straw and shavings.” The Cow Palace is home to the Grand National Rodeo in October. The Grand National has been under the PRCA umbrella the last couple years as a qualifying rodeo for RFD- TV’s The American. It has hosted the Grand National Rodeo since 1941, but because of COVID-19, this year’s rodeo has been postponed. The Cow Palace is also a fairground. And as part of the California fair network, Marshall said one of the most important things for the Cow Palace is to be available for disasters and needs for evacuations. Several agencies coordinated bringing the animals. One was the San Mateo County Large Animal Evacuation Group, founded in 2009. Robin Camozzi is the vice president of the evacuation group. She’s also a central point of contact, like a dispatcher. Camozzi hadn’t been to the Cow Palace before the fires. She took numerous calls on animals that needed evacuation and redistributed animals across the Bay Area. Had she been to the Cow Palace before the fires, things might have gone differently. “It was a huge, huge relief to know we had that available,” Camozzi said. “I hope and look forward to going directly to the Cow Palace if we have an event like this again.” Camozzi said her organization moved or facilitated the move of about 1,600 animals. By Aug. 26, all the horses and most other animals had been sent home from the Cow Palace. Weather in the area had cooled and helped firefighters in battling the fires. As of Aug. 31, more than 1 million acres had burned around the
region, according to officials.
As if the fires weren’t bad enough, the COVID-19
“It’s pretty amazing, in my mind, that people who have never met before, met on a phone call and have been coordinating the past two weeks together with all the different needs questions and concerns. It’s pretty humbling to be part of all that.” – LORI MARSHALL
pandemic added to the challenge.
“Add that (pandemic) and it’s a matter of you’re not supposed to get together, it’s now tougher because people from different locations who don’t know each other (are gathering),” Marshall said. “We have strict guidelines as far as sanitation, cleaning, social distancing, washing hands, wearing masks. It makes it little bit more to monitor. “Not only do we have to take care of animals and logistical things, now the volunteers have their concern with the animals, but you have to manage the volunteers to make sure that they follow the guidelines and aren’t forgetting that.” Besides volunteers, the general public pitched in. The Cow Palace and other sites asked for donations. People called in, even when they weren’t sure what exactly was needed. “It brought back my faith in humanity,” Marshall said. “We’re in the city, we’re not a rural event center. We had people saying, ‘I want to help and donate, but I don’t know what that is and where I get it.’ … Everybody is so wonderful in our community about getting stuff over here for the livestock.” Marshall is impressed at what has transpired the last couple weeks. “It’s pretty amazing, in my mind, that people who have never met before, met on a phone call and have been coordinating the past two weeks together with all the different needs questions and concerns,” Marshall said. “It’s pretty humbling to be part of all that.”
Charles Russo photo Ulysses was one of several horses who spent time at the Cow Palace in Daly, City, Calif., because of wildfires before being loaded onto trailers to be returned to Ciara West Equestrian in Woodside, Aug. 25.
ProRodeo Sports News 9/4/2020
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