Bull Riding at Charlotte County Fairground – South Gulf Coast, Florida.
If you want to try something different when you are down at Rotonda West then why not go to a Bull Riding Meeting. The Southern States Bull Riding Series competition is held several times a year at the Charlotte County Fairgrounds. All over the state Professional Bull Riders compete for points toward the Southern States Bull Riding Championship.
Bull riding requires balance, flexibility, coordination, and courage. Fearless cowboys will strap themselves to 2,000 pounds of angry bull and try to hold on for eight seconds, the only equipment they have is a bull-rope, a glove and a pair of chaps! The rope is tied round the bull, the rider secures one end and wraps it round his hand while astride the caged bull. His other hand remains free and he is not allowed to touch the bull, himself or the rope with his free hand, doing so will disqualify him. Two judges score the cowboy’s performance and the animal’s performance and the maximum score is 100. The highest score we saw was 89 and boy did he earn it!
The bulls vary greatly in size and appear docile while they are in the pens …but once released into the ring and with a rider on top they become ferocious creatures, thrusting and bucking with all their might. If the unlucky rider is thrown off then rodeo clowns distract the angry bull whilst the cowboy picks himself up and heads for safety. It is an exciting but dangerous sport.
I was surprised to find out that events are arranged to include children. They take place at the Arcadia Meetings which are held 3 times a year “the second weekend in March, July 4 and the Fall”.
Below is just a sample of the childrens’ events:-
The Junior Barrel
A racing event is for the young barrel racer up to 17 years old.
Junior Steer & Bull Riding
For ages 10 - 12 (steer riding) and ages 13 - 16 (bull riding) compete to see who can ride the steer (or bull) the longest.
Each calf will be decorated with a bandanna. The winners are those children who "undecorate" the calves This event is open to children ages 6 through 12
For children ages 4 - 6, with one winner per day of the Rodeo. The contestant who rides the sheep the furthest in the arena is chosen the winner.
There is a wonderful family atmosphere at these meetings. The cowboys mingle with the crowds beforehand and make a fuss of the children. Country western music plays in the background. Chow stations sell hot food, snacks and drinks. We had a great time and I was surprised that I enjoyed it so much.
For details of the meetings contact:
Charlotte County Fairgrounds, 2333 El Jobean Road (State Road 776),
Port Charlotte -- across from Charlotte Sports Park.
For details of the Arcadia events contact:
Arcadia All-Florida Championship Rodeo, 124 Heard St. Arcadia, FL 34266 . (863) 494-2014 or 1-800-749-7633