Rodeos and Bull-riding - Arcadia - Orlando / Florida Guide
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Arcadia is a small town of some 6, 000 residents which has had a tradition of raising money for local charities through rodeos since 1928. Arcadia, an hour’s drive from the Gulf Coast can be reached from several junctions on the I-75. The Rodeo Stadium is just off of US Highway 17
The stadium was destroyed by Hurricane Charley in 2004 but has been rebuilt and back in operation. As well as several smaller events throughout the year the main events are in March and December plus a new addition since September 2008, ‘Best of the Ranches Rodeo’, where teams of cowboys from local ranches get the chance to show their skills in various activities with the winning team going on to compete in the World finals in Texas. Another exciting event is the ‘Bull-O-Rama Extravaganza’. Held on the 4th July, tickets can be ordered in advance and collected on the day. Gates open at 11am but arrive early and watch the downtown Parade with Marching bands, floats, vehicles and of course plenty of horses.
The atmosphere around the stadium is of a country fair with souvenirs, stalls and refreshments – BBQ, Hot Dogs etc. It is an opportunity to mingle with local people and real cowboys. After the opening ceremony there are several events though out the day.
Bull-riding has to be the most exciting event where young professional and amateur riders compete to stay 8 seconds on a 2, 000 pound monster holding nothing more than a rope. Try to get seats above the bucking chutes for a close up of the riders mounting the bulls and to appreciate the bravery of these young men (and some girls) some as young as 13. The bulls are far from docile so try not to drop your camera in to the bull pens below the seats. The 10 – 12 year olds take part in the Steer Riding competition.
Barrel Racing is an event for the Cowgirls who race at breakneck speed in a trefoil pattern round barrels. Some of the girls look barely old enough to sit on a horse let alone ride at such speed.
For the 6 – 12 year olds there is the Calf Scramble where all children can compete to remove Bandannas from the tails of calves.
One of the most amusing events has to be Mutton Bustin’. Children from 4 – 6 compete to see how far they can ride on the back of a sheep with the winner receiving a shiny new belt buckle.
For exciting family entertainment it is hard to beat.
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