As a horse community, there are few sidewalks in the city of Norco; instead there are horse trails, and riders can ride to town and tie their horses at the many hitching rails and corrals placed close to businesses. Many horse-related associations are a part of the city, including the Norco Horsemen's Association and the Norco Junior Horsemen's Association. Politics in Norco also are dominated by concerns about horses and animal-keeping versus suburbanization, a battle that has played out over development in the Norco Hills. In that area, which borders eastern Corona and Riverside, an influx of Orange County commuters are buying homes for $500,000 and up that have few provisions for animal-keeping. The original spirit of the town's incorporation was to promote "City living in a rural atmosphere."
In 2006, Norco began promoting itself as "Horsetown U.S.A." and received a federal trademark. A large cement mural with this logo and reliefs of horses can be seen on the freeway near the I-15 southbound onramp at 6th St. The nickname can also be found on stickers and other promotional items sold around town.
Norco is also the home of the Norco Animal Rescue Team (NART). NART was founded after the October 2003 wildfires that savaged San Bernardino County and San Diego County. During the fires, Norco citizens banded together to provide a place of refuge for horses and other animals being evacuated from the fire areas. In the aftermath of these fires, the community of Norco recognized a need for an organized group to assist in the evacuation of mainly large animals from floods, fires and other dangers. NART's main purpose is to rescue large animals, mainly horses, from dangerous situations such as being stranded in areas from which they cannot remove themselves, such as canyons or ravines, using the Anderson Sling and a helicopter. Such major rescues have been accomplished twice,[when?] and NART has mobilized during every major fire that has hit southern California since 2004.
The largest event highlighting Norco's community and lifestyle is the annual Norco Fair, run by community volunteers. Tickets for the fair are in the form of colorful button pins. Each year a contest is held to design the button. Buttons are sold in the weeks before the Fair by teenage girls competing to be the next Miss Norco. Buttons must be worn at all time by patrons of the Fair or they risk being locked in "jail" by the Fair's marshals. The Norco Fair runs over the Labor Day Weekend, beginning on Thursday evening with the Miss Norco, Horsetown USA Contest and continues until Monday, finishing with a Labor Day Parade down 6th Street. Events included at the Fair are the rodeo, rodeo dance, calf dressing competition, pageants, exhibitions, cowboy poker, wild cow milking, snail races, talent show, pet parade, and "Family Fun Day."
Norco's largest event center - George Ingalls Equestrian Event Center - hosts events such as the Norco rodeo and Norco Fair. George Ingalls Equestrian center has covered horse arenas and other amenities.[when?] The center is named after George Alan Ingalls, a Medal of Honor recipient.