11 ranches compete in two-day Williston rodeo starting Friday


Published: Thursday, May 23, 2013 at 4:54 p.m.
Last Modified: Thursday, May 23, 2013 at 4:54 p.m.

Put on a cowboy hat and some boots because it's time to rodeo.

Facts

IF YOU GO

What: The eighth Annual Williston Ranch Rodeo
When: Friday night and Saturday night at 8.
Where: Williston Horseman's Park, 803 SW 19th Ave., Williston
Admission: $10 at the gate, free for children 5 and under
For more information: 528-4518

The eighth annual Williston Ranch Rodeo, part of the Florida Cattlemen's Association's ranch rodeo circuit, will be held Friday and Saturday. The event will feature eight competitive events, with the overall first-place team moving forward to the state ranch rodeo finals in Kissimmee.

Ranch rodeos, unlike typical rodeos, do not feature bull riding, said Brad Edwards, an organizer for the event.

“I would say a rodeo, it has become a sport,” he said. “And this is more like real (life) working events — things that cowboys actually do every day at their job.”

The ranch rodeo will pit competing teams comprised of members from a working ranch against one another in a series of competitive events based on the work performed on cattle ranches in Florida by combining roping and groundwork skills with horsemanship.

“It's like the old days where these cowboys of all the ranches around get together and have a rodeo to see who is the best ranch,” said Edwards.

Teams are made up of five ranch members, with one acting as a noncompeting captain, and must include at least one female. Six area ranches will compete Friday while five ranches from farther down south will compete on Saturday.

The timed, competitive events will include wild steer roping and branding (using paint), team sorting, steer tying, saddle bronc riding, and wild cow milking, which has three team members attempting to hold an 1,100-pound cow, which isn't used to being milked, in place and milking it, said Edwards.

The competition will also include a buddy pickup, a relay race and a wild horse race, which has three competitors attempting to saddle and race an unbroken horse.

Crowd favorites include the wild cow milking and the wild horse race, said Edwards, because of the physical danger involved and the chance to see a “wreck” — a collision involving more than one horse or one involving horse and competitor.

“People get hurt and stomped and they get run over,” he said. “I mean, you turn three (horses) out at one time ... and the horses will come out and run into one another. The cows, too; the cow (can) get mad and hook around and kick another team member that ain't lookin' to see where (the cow) is goin'. I mean, it's pretty Western.”

For children 6 and under, there will be a calf scramble and boot scramble, which have children scrambling to pull a ribbon off two loose calves, according to Edwards.

Proceeds from participant entrance fees and admission will go to the Williston High School Quarterback Club, a booster club for the high school football team.

Prizes will be given to teams that place in each event, and the first-, second- and third-place overall winners will receive a cash award in addition to prize awards. The first-place overall winners also will receive a paid entry fee for the upcoming finals.

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