The RNCFR took place this past weekend and if you weren’t there, you definitely missed out! This year, I had the privilege of covering it and will never forget the experience. Being down on that dirt is a feeling like no other.
Each and every day, spectators flocked to the Osceola Heritage Park, Silver Spurs Arena for fun in the sun at the Tailgating Experience then an action packed rodeo performance in the evening. The Tailgating Experience was a chance for visitors to enjoy some music & a new band every afternoon and evening at the Lynch Oil Performance Stage.
The exterior of the arena was filled with vendors ranging from clothing and jewelry to smaller rodeo and ranch equipment. The kids could learn how to rope, meet some of the contestants and also mingle with all the Rodeo Queens.
I was trying not to be partial but Cassidy Black, Miss Rodeo Utah blew me away with her grace, friendly demeanor, openness and her smile was genuine. She really brightened up the already sparkling Osceola Heritage Park. We chatted for a bit about rodeo life and the blog. I cannot wait to see the difference I know she is bound to make as Miss Rodeo Utah 2016! All the Rodeo Queens were absolutely gorgeous, of course, & did a fantastic job of representing their states & the rodeo’s sponsors throughout each night of the rodeo.
Along with all these gorgeous ladies, you could also check out a range of gorgeous RAM trucks. Visitors could enter to win $70,000 towards the purchase of one of RAM’s shiny new trucks.
On the inside of the arena, visitors could grab official RNCFR merchandise along with checking out some of the vendors that were also set up indoors. Pictured below is Ivy, the owner of Branded B Boutique, a local clothing boutique located right down the road from Osceola Heritage Park.
They create one of a kind, unique clothing pieces from her mother’s artwork. Check them out online at Branded B Boutique or in person. They are located at 125 Broadway, Kissimmee, FL, 34741.
After visitors made their rounds at all of the exciting things going on outside the arena, they made their way inside each evening to watch an action packed rodeo performance. From Thursday April 7th to Sunday April 10th, contestants from all across the country came to Kissimmee, Florida to compete for over $1 million in cash and prizes along with the title of RNCFR Champion. 24 contestants in each of the 7 sporting events (saddle bronc riding, bareback riding, steer wrestling, team roping, tie-down roping, barrel racing and bull riding) started on Thursday’s opening night and by Sunday we were down to 4 in each event.
Each performance came with unexpected twists and turns but in the end there can only be one champion for each event. In the saddle riding Jacobs Crawley from the Texas Circuit, is a favourite and was offered a re-ride in the finals due to his horse stumbling out of the gate. His re-ride horse would not budge on TWO occasions as the chute opened but with the crowds help, he got a nice 84 point ride only to come in short behind Rookie of The Year & Champion, Rusty Wright from the Wilderness Circuit, who won with an 85.50 on beautiful bronc named Goin’ South. In the bareback riding, crowd favourite, Tim O’Connell from the Great Lakes Circuit, came in hot winning his Bareback Champion title with 84 points on a stunner named Universal Mamma Don’t No.
Josh Boka, from the Montana Circuit, had Montana on its feet winning the bulldogging (aka: Steer Wrestling) with a smokin’ 4.5 seconds. The dynamic duo of Jake Orman (heading) and Tyler Domingue (heeling), from the Texas Circuit won the Team Roping with a lightning fast 4.4 seconds. Badlands Circuit cowboy, Clint Kindred, took the tie-roping event by storm winning the finals with a 7.9 seconds. In women’s barrel racing, all eyes were on 4 time World Champion Sherri Cervi, but with an unlucky knock on the last barrel, an RNCFR win for Sherri might have to wait until next time. Instead, Ivy Conrado from the Mountain States Circuit came flying in for the win with a 15.47 run. Last but certainly not least, Parker Breding dominated the last 2 rounds of bull riding and won his second RNCFR bull riding title with an 87.5.
Now this is the second year that the RNCFR has been held in Kissimee and is due to stay here for the next 8 years, if I am not mistaken. So, what is the RNCFR doing for the contestants and the Kissimmee community? The RNCFR gives each contestant $1000 for qualifying and competing. Don’t we wish every rodeo did that? The rodeo life is hard one. It isn’t all just riding around on a horse and your day’s work is done. Rodeos are sometimes thousands of miles apart and when these contestants try to make it big, they don’t always win big. This stipend helps towards gas and travel expenses because hauling a trailer on a truck across country is not for the faint at heart. This money can also help bring the contestants families out so the can watch their mother, brother, son, whichever family member, compete in one of the biggest rodeos in America. Can we give the RAM National Circuit Finals Rodeo a big round of applause?!?!
On the final performance of the 4 day rodeo, the RNCFR gave an award to their partner of the year. There were many partners and sponsors but this year Wild Florida Airboat Tours & Wildlife Park won the buckle for Partner of the Year 2016. Pictured below is the Wild Florida family receiving their award.
Osceola Heritage Park hosting the RNCFR is helping to keep the western lifestyle alive as it continues to transcend down through the generations. This next photograph was picture perfect as a cowboy lifted his son to watch some of the action. I couldn’t help but think of the possibilities ahead of that young boy and what he would grow up to be like. Every single cowboy there was the definition of gentleman. As soon as each contestant was done riding that bull or bronc, or riding hard to wrestle a steer, he would tip his hat to every woman he made eye contact with, with a simple “ma’am” to go along with it. I have no doubt that little cowboy taking it all in, soaking it all up like a sponge will be one of the next big ropers or riders, tipping his hat to lady passing by. It makes you wonder, what we can do to help keep this culture and lifestyle alive and make it boom even bigger. It’s a work hard, play hard, do no harm, simple lifestyle. No bullshit (excuse my language) except for what is lying in a grass out on the ranch…God Bless cowboys and cowgirls!
So if we have captured your interest in the RNCFR or the experience of rodeo, we would love to see you out at Osceola Heritage Park, Silver Spur Arena, at next years RNCFR from April 6th to the 9th 2017.
If you can’t wait until then, there are a few rodeos coming up in June that we would love to see you at.
June 10th 2016 – Silver Spurs Rodeo
June 11th 2016 – Wrangler Champion Challenge (usually this is held in October but got rescheduled)
June 12th 2016 – Silver Spurs Rodeo
You can find all the event details, times & ticket prices at the Osceola Heritage Park website.
Hope to see you there!
Stay safe & God Bless!