OKEECHOBEE – The Okeechobee Cowtown Rodeo will bring rodeo excitement back to the Okeechobee Cattlemen’s Rodeo Arena, 1885 U.S. 441, on Saturday, March 13 and Sunday, March 14.
Gates open at 1 p.m. Mutton Bustin’ is at 2 p.m. Rodeo events start at 2:30 p.m.
The Okeechobee Cattlemen’s Association produces the Okeechobee Cowtown Rodeo every March as their annual fundraiser. The Cowtown Rodeo is a Professional Rodeo Cowboy’s Association (PRCA) event. PRCA cowboys compete in rodeos all over the country, earning points and money that qualifies them for the national championship event in Las Vegas, Nev.
According to the PRCA website, prorodeo.com, in the roughstock events – bareback riding, saddle bronc riding and bull riding – a contestant’s score is equally dependent upon his performance and the animal’s performance. To earn a qualified score, the cowboy, while using only one hand, must stay aboard a bucking horse or bull for eight seconds. If the rider touches the animal, himself or any of his equipment with his free hand, he is disqualified. In saddle bronc and bareback riding, a cowboy must “mark out” his horse; that is, he must exit the chute with his spurs set above the horse’s shoulders and hold them there until the horse’s front feet hit the ground after the initial jump out of the chute. Failing to do so results in disqualification. Two judges each score a cowboy’s qualified ride by awarding 0 to 25 points for the rider’s performance and 0 to 25 points for the animal’s effort. The judges’ scores are then combined to determine the contestant’s score. A perfect score is 100 points.
In timed events – steer wrestling, team roping, tie-down roping, barrel racing and steer roping – cowboys and cowgirls at compete against the clock, as well as against each other. A contestant’s goal is to post the fastest time in his or her event. In steer wrestling and the roping events, calves and steers are allowed a head start. The competitor, on horseback, starts in a three-sided fenced area called a box. The fourth side opens into the arena. A rope barrier is stretched across that opening and is tied to the calf or steer with a breakaway loop. Once the calf or steer reaches the head-start point - predetermined by the size of the arena - the barrier is automatically released. If a cowboy breaks that barrier, a 10-second penalty is added.
There are at least two judges at every PRCA rodeo who have attended judging seminars and are trained to ensure that all results of competition and livestock welfare are followed. During the timed events, each judge has a different role; during the roughstock events, the judges are on opposite sides of the cowboy and animal, watching for the cowboy’s control of the ride and how well his timing is synced with the animal’s bucking motion, among other scored aspects of a ride that can be different on the two sides.
Tickets on sale @ www.Okeechobeecattlemen.com or at Eli’s Western Wear in Okeechobee.