Team Experience Kissimmee Brings Home Gold!

A bittersweet moment as the PRCA Wrangler Champions Challenge  Tour came to an end for the 2016 year. The winner is determined by who’s team’s contestants made the most money in each event. Collectively Team Experience Kissimmee brought home the Champions Cup this year!

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This year’s Team Kissimmee contestants were:

Clayton Biglow – Bareback Bronc Riding

Jake Watson – Saddle Bronc Riding

Dalan Duncan – Bull Riding

Adam Gray – Tie-Down Roping

Baylor Roche – Steer Wrestling

Kolton Schmidt – Team Roping (Header)

Shay Carroll – Team Roping (Healer)

Morgan Breaux – WPRA Barrel Racing

Congratulations guys and gals! All of us here in the Central Florida area were proud to route you all on and you represented Experience Kissimmee well!

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So you are probably wondering when the next PRCA Wrangler Champions Challenge is coming back to town…well International Cowgirl will be keeping  you in the loop and up to date as soon as the PRCA announces the new tour dates and teams.

For now though, marl your calendars for the following up and coming rodeos that might be in your area.

RAM National Circuit Finals Rodeo – April 6-9th 2017 – get 20% off tickets (online only) with code: EARLYBIRD at Osceola Heritage Park

Florida Ranch Rodeo State Finals – Sept 29th 2016 at Osceola Heritage Park

Florida Ranch Rodeo State Finals – Oct 1st 2016 at Osceola Heritage Park

Cowboy Heritage Festival – Oct 1st 2016 at Osceola Heritage Park

Miss Rodeo Florida Association Pageant – September 30th – October 2nd at Radisson Resort Orlando – Celebration

If you are in to a bit of golf the Silver Spurs Cowboy Classic Golf Tournament is taking place October 8th at the Royal St. Cloud Golf Links – click on the hyperlink above for more details.

138th Silver Spurs Rodeo takes place Feb 17,18 and 19 2017 at Osceola Heritage Park

All of the above events are family friendly and we would love to have you bring the whole gang out!

Can’t wait to see you all!

Stay safe and God Bless!

~~International Cowgirl 

Don’t miss another Kissimmee Rodeo!

You got that straight! We can’t get enough of rodeos and the rodeo lifestyle here at International Cowgirl and what better way to celebrate rodeo than the Florida Ranch Rodeo & Cowboy Heritage Festival at Osceola Heritage Park. I am telling ya folks, if you have not been to this venue for a rodeo sporting event, you are missing out. It is top-notch and always has tons for the whole family.

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If you want a save a bit of money on tickets (and who doesn’t now-a-days?) here is a link to get discounted tickets for the Rodeo and Festival:  52% Off @ Florida Ranch Rodeo & Cowboy Heritage – We don’t want you to miss out!

A lot of the larger, national sized rodeos took place earlier on in the year in April and in June so we love to start the fall season with a bit of rodeo AND a festival at that…you don’t get that at any other rodeo so come on down and I hope to see you there!

If you are interested in becoming part of the  Florida Cattlemen’s Association | FCA  or Florida Cattlewomen – stop on by the hyperlink provided and check out their membership information. You will be the first to know about the rodeos throughout the state, conferences on many different equine and agricultural topics along with other fun benefits and events.

As always, stay safe and God Bless!

~~International Cowgirl 

 

Equine Beach Trip Essentials

Recently, I went to the beach with an acquaintance and a group of her friends to do a photo shoot and got the amazing opportunity to ride one of her horses along the beach. A dream come true, right? Well it certainly was for me. I am still on cloud nine.

Preparing for the trip is something they/we planned about a week in advance and took a lot of double and triple checking the trailers, the trucks, the tack, the cooler and so on and so forth.

Afterwards (as pictures started to be posted all over social media) we started getting a lot of questions, oohs and aahs, which was cool. So we, here at International Cowgirl, would love to share the experience with you and help you prepare for your beach trip by putting it all in one place.

First off, make sure your horses are used to being trailer-ed for over an hour…or used to being trailer-ed at all. I am sure most of them are, however, I figured I would state the obvious. It took us about an hour to get from Deland, FL to Palm Coast, FL. There are very few beaches in the entire state that allow horses on the beach. The closest one to us was Jungle Hut Park  in Palm Coast, FL. You have to pay a toll to get across the bridge to the island but it is something like $5 for a truck hauling a horse trailer.

To piggy-back off the first that is also majorly important, COGGINS. You have to, have to, have to make sure your negative coggins are on you on in your truck at all times. I know a lot of people who have a great little filing box in the backseat of their truck or in the trailer, that has their horses UP TO DATE coggins and any other important equine information in that wee box. You want to be able to pull it out immediately IF stopped by a park officer or law enforcement. Law enforcement stopped by whilst doing their rounds in the area and just chatted and checked out the horses. They were very supportive of us being on the beach and loved being with the horses. They said they don’t see it every day but often enough…it never gets old to them.

Second, double and triple check your trailer and truck tire pressure, brakes, etc. Another obvious statement; make sure your truck and trailer are all in good working order.

Third, tack and day trip “bag” for your horses. I wouldn’t recommend taking  your best tack set to the beach. The salt air and salt water along with the sand could do a lot of damage to very expensive tack. My friend rode bareback but also brought along a soft seat which I thought was fantastic. Think of going on a mini vacation with your horse. Bring your equine first aid kit or travel first aid kit that I am sure you have in your trailer at all times anyway, your everyday use tack and a back up just in case. An extra halter and lead-line won’t hurt either. Your horse is strong…you know that…now mix that with taking them right into crashing waves, strong breeze and sucking sand…they MIGHT freak out at first, so if that lead line or halter snaps. You will want a back up REAL QUICK. Our group of horses were alert but didn’t freak at all. They sniffed at the waves and moved around a bit adjusting their feet as the sand under the water sucked in their hooves, but all that is natural and bound to happen. The water felt amazing and with the breeze, it was a perfect sunny Florida Sunday.

To continue on with #3, you will probably take breaks to let your horses feel solid ground, get them a drink, eat a bit of grass (in the park) or hay (by the trailer). Remember to bring water buckets and water if you do not think water will be accessible where you are at. There was a water spigot across the parking lot at this park, and of course depending on if your horse likes to travel using flavoured water, remember to bring your Gatorade of choice or whatever you use to help your horses stay hydrated whilst on a trip in a new place. Just like WE have to stay hydrated in the heat, so do they. ESPECIALLY in these Florida summers as they can get brutal.

Fourth…don’t forget about yourself. Your fur babies come first and they have everything they need and you have double checked and triple checked everything but you cannot serve others from an empty cup, as they say. Make sure you have a cooler filled with TONS of water, electrolyte gummies (like the sports Gatorade type gummies) because water will hydrate you but the sun drains you of all sorts of electrolytes that your body needs to function. Also bring snacks and sandwiches depending on how long you are going to be out there. Items that are often forgotten are sunscreen…OH MY GOODNESS, bring the sunscreen. I am from Great Britain, so we don’t get the same strong sun rays that we do here in Florida, so I was BEYOND thankful to have brought 70 proof…YUP…70 proof. My legs got a little red since we were in and out of the water a lot but I only have to reapply twice. Other items that are often forgotten are towels (to dry off), a change of clothes, a wide soft paint brush really helps get all the sand off of you before hopping back in your truck too.

If this is your first trip at the beach with your horses, do not be afraid. There was nothing in the water but fish and it was so clear up in Palm Coast. It is probably even more clear on the West Coast of Florida. Take all the time you need to desensitize the horse to the mass amount of stimulation that is going on around them. Take them away from where the people are. People WILL swarm you and faun over the horses being on the beach but setting strong boundaries (like kids not running up to the horses, people not walking directly behind the horses, sudden movements if your horse is a total newbie) is a must. We moved about a football field length of space down the beach and there was maybe one or two people there but we had all the space needed so the horses didn’t feel any more claustrophobic than they already do naturally.

It is definitely an experience of a lifetime. I love being on the back of a horse and feel at home there but on a gorgeous beach and the horses being with their buddies and us being with ours, it was a dream come true; truly an incredible day.

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Thanks for reading and I hope you are able to take something new away from today’s post.

As always, stay safe and God Bless!

~~International Cowgirl xoxo

11 Year Old Blazes Trails at the Silver Spurs Rodeo!

Dallas Phillips, 11, of Cocoa, Florida set the clover leaf pattern ablaze during the Junior Barrel Race at the 137th Silver Spurs Rodeo.

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Dallas rounding the second barrel. 

She was not the first to ride in her group of riders, and we had watched many junior and pro riders knock over a barrel or two by this point in the rodeo. When Dallas approached the alley, you could sense something different about her…this ride was going to be different.

She blasted out of the alley, hunting that first barrel…we all anxiously awaiting for either the horse or rider to knock over the barrel…she cleared it fast and smooth! She continued onto the second and as she glided around that second barrel, and checked the clock, we knew this little lady was FLYING!

She rounded the third and started to head home with the entire arena cheering her and her mighty steed on! She crossed the timer, and we all stared at the jumbo tron for what seemed like an eternity waiting for her time to appear….15.44!!! Her 15.44 second ride got a roar of applause from cowboys, cowgirls, and spectators alike from around the arena!

It was incredible to watch! I think if Dallas keeps this pace up, she will continue on to high school rodeo circuits and the big leagues in no time at all!

Good luck, Dallas, in all your future races! You gained another fan at the 137th Silver Spur Rodeo!

Thanks for reading y’all!

Stay safe and God Bless!

~~International Cowgirl xoxo

Florida Cowgirl, Megan Swint, Finds A Win At Home

Megan Swint, from Lithia, Florida came back home to ride hard at the Wrangler’s Champion Challenge and the 137th Silver Spurs Rodeo.

2016 has been a tough but exciting rodeo year for her, but Megan is tougher and has massive volumes of ambition between her and her equine team.

Last year she finished 2015 ranked 23rd in the world and this year she is still in the world rankings. She has a huge fan base and support system in Florida so we have to represent whenever we can. We are hoping she continues to climb in the rankings. Climb that ladder, girl…CLIMB IT!

She ran a great run, coming in 4th place at the PRCA Wranglers Champions Challenge with a 15.96 second ride.

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Here was our interview at the 137th Silver Spurs Rodeo.

IC: How does it feel representing Florida in the big leagues?

MS: It’s awesome! I was super happy to get invited back here to ride in the Champions Challenge because this is our home state.

IC: Tell me a little bit about your horse you are riding this weekend?

MS: This is a borrowed horse. My horses are currently in Utah. This awesome mare belongs to Ronda and Riley Butler (IC side note: please forgive any name misspellings and feel free to correct me) and I was fortunate enough to get to ride her last night in the Champions Challenge. She’s not been ridden at many large rodeos so she pulled through and did great.

IC: What would you say to up and coming barrel racers who really want to try and make it big?

MS: Never give up…it’s hard. We’ve been in a down-slope for the last couple of weeks and last night was the first check I have won since Houston but it always has to turn around at some point so I just say keep going.

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The finals arrived at the 137th Silver Spurs Rodeo and she had a smokin’ 15.49 second run bringing home another paycheck.

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I absolutely love how she dotes on her horses after each run. She is firm in her faith and adamant on praising her horses.

It was a successful weekend since she hadn’t cashed in since Rodeo Houston and we loved having her back in Florida. We wish her all the best as she continues on the rodeo road.

The rodeo road can take a toll and sometimes cowboys and cowgirls have to make a difficult choice to dig in and push on, or head home to the drawing board and come up with new strategies. I have heard time and time again from contestants that it’s an experience like no other being out their on the road going from rodeo to rodeo doing what you love. So we are routing for her whether she stays out on the road a little longer or heads back to Florida. Either way, she has made an impact on people along the way, made a difference in the rodeo world, and really gave it her all. She is an inspiration to cowgirls, not only in Florida but across the nation. I don’t think this is the last we’ve seen of the Magnificent Megan Swint.

Thanks for reading y’all.

Stay safe and God bless!

~~International Cowgirl xoxo

Wrangler Champions Challenge Pays Out!

With a full house and an interactive audience, these top athletes from around the rodeo world, show Kissimmee how rodeo is done year in and year out. With not a lot of pro-rodeos in central Florida…actually Florida in general, people come from hours away to watch these athletes compete at the Wrangler PRCA Champions Challenge. As of this week the B&W Trailers team is in the lead with a $65 thousand pay out so far.

Bareback rider and crowd favourite, Tim O’Connell, had a nice 83 point ride on Saturday night.

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Personal favourite, Cody Rostockyj, had an awesome 85 point ride at the WCC, allowing him to slide into 2nd place and work on improving his world standings. He is currently ranked 7th in the world.

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Florida cowgirl, Megan Swint, represented us well in the big leagues with coming in 4th and winning her first money since Rodeo Houston, with a 15.96 second ride.

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Megan mentally preparing for her ride
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Megan rounding the first

Megan is rockin’ and rollin’ at pro rodeos all over the country and is currently ranked 14th in the world. I absolutely loved watching her preparing, riding, and then reward her horse after the ride. I see most, but not all, riders reward their horses after a ride, whether it was good or not. She was so loving on her four-legged team-mate that my respect for her blossomed and tripled all in one go. Florida loves you Megan!

If you are reading this and live in the Central Florida area, Osceola Heritage Park puts on 3 brilliant rodeos a year so far; the RAM National Circuit Finals Rodeo, The Wrangler PRCA Champions Challenge & The Silver Spurs Rodeo. There are tons to do as a family and the performances alone will blow your mind. A lot of people say that if you’ve been to one rodeo, you’ve been to them all, and in some aspects that is true but there are always new and upcoming contestants, veteran pros come and see their fans and do meet & greets. Every rodeo I go to is always exciting and fresh even though they have the same events each time – the arenas and sponsors do a great job of getting everything to flow well, and switching things up to keep the audience involved and entertained.

I am already in eager anticipation for next year’s Wrangler PRCA Champions Challenge! I hope to see you there!

Up next, International Cowgirl covers The 137th Silver Spurs Rodeo – so stay tuned!

Here are some of my favourite shots that I captured on Saturday night.

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For those who love cowboy butts; you’re welcome.

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Greg from our local farm and feed supply out at the WCC Saturday night! Hey Greg!!!

Thanks for reading! Stay safe and God Bless!

~~International Cowgirl 

Florida Welcomes Back The Big Leagues!

An hour before the arena doors were due to open at Osceola Heritage Park, hundreds of rodeo fans were lining up ready for America’s original sport…rodeo. Now this wasn’t just any old rodeo…this was the Wrangler Champions Challenge!

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Every year, the PRCA Wrangler Champions Challenge comes to Florida, bringing with top athletes and some bad-ass roughstock with them. Competing for upwards of $16,000 for each event and  $400 appearance fee going to each contestant from that payout. The WCC (Wrangler Champions Challenge) is one of the highest paying PRCA one-go rodeos.

The contestants are broken up into 11 teams – the teams sponsors include: Wrangler, Justin’s Boots, B&W Trailer Hitches, RAM, Coors Banquet, Experience Kissimmee, Las Vegas and Pro Rodeo Gear. These team rosters are drafted in mid January.

This is a geographical challenging and diverse rodeo series event that covers 9 states from Washington to Florida. Stats for each team will be tracked and a champion announced in the fall at the FINALE in Pasadena, Texas, September 2016.

The WCC is a nice lead into rodeo season which is mainly from June to October but we hold that date open very loosely. With the WCC starting in February and thousands of other major rodeos around the country, these athletes continue drive the relentless and unforgiving rodeo road all in the name of living their dreams and being, or becoming, a rodeo champion.

Speaking of rodeo champions; rodeo veteran, world champion & 4 time NFR qualifier, Mary Walker, stopped by and spoke with International Cowgirl briefly.

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Here was our interview:

IC: First off, how is your day going?

MW: Busy! I left Salt Lake this morning at 6am, stopped in Dallas, changed planes, and got here about 2pm.

IC: Tell me a little about your lead/main barrel horses(s). Side note: I’m a Latte fan! 🙂

MW: My lead horse is Latte, as you know, he is 12 years old and a gelding. I had to leave him…he is in Montana right now and so I am on a 6-year-old tonight, that I’ve run a little bit and his name is Bojangles.

IC: Who inspires you?

MW: Who inspires me? Wow…there is so many people who inspire me. Um…Martha Josey has inspired me throughout my years barrel racing because she is so great with kids and she is just an awesome person to look up to. Gosh, each and every one of these contestants inspire me, because we work so hard to get our dreams so I really think each and every one of them.

IC: What did you do to train for tonight?

MW: I’ve been on the rodeo road about, oh…going on 4 weeks so far away from home so I consider that training. Competing and trying to get your balance and your sync with your horses and make sure they are all working good. We train every day.

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Mary Walker & I. 6/11/2016

So after doing a little happy dance, which probably embarrassed my PR coordinator, I hugged Mary Walker, left her to go warm up Bojangles and I ran off to cover the rest of the rodeo like the boot wearing ninja that I claim and try to be.

Side note: Mary & Bojangles went on the win the barrel racing event at the WCC with a smokin’ 15.54 second run! Congratulations to them!

So off I ran to behind the chutes since CBS gave all other press and media a short but sweet 5 minute window in which they could join them behind the chutes. Climbing behind the chutes is one of my favourite places to be at a rodeo. I am beginning to narrow down my niche spots at these events and behind the chutes is probably on the top of my list. This is where they hold the horses and bulls before ushering them into their chutes; this is also where I fell in love with roughstock bronc, Universal Mama Don’t Know Painted Pony. He had me stopped in my tracks, jaw dropped, the whole heart thumping, I need this horse in my life type of feelings.

Anywho! The cowboys usually warm up back there and prep their equipment (saddles, bronc flancs, straps and so on). You usually see them praying, stretching, doing their pre-ride routines or checking their phones; talking to family members who couldn’t make it on the trip all the way down to sunny Florida.

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Everything has to be just right…especially when there is a lot of money on the line, like there is at events…this is their livelihood and how they pay to keep their families afloat. They are keeping the western culture and lifestyle alive! I, personally, am thankful for such things…it’s a simple and hard-working way of life. These people are some of the hardest working and most humble you will ever meet and this is one of the many reasons that I love and support the sport of rodeo. You get out of it, what you put into it.

I am going to pause here and leave you on somewhat of a cliff-hanger…I covered so much on the Wrangler Champions Challenge that I feel it would be better broken up into a couple of posts instead of dragging on and on, so hang tight…Florida Welcomes Back The Big Leagues will continue later this week.

Stay safe & God Bless!

~~International Cowgirl

 

Florida Rodeo Inc takes Lake Helen by storm!

Saturday, April 16th, was the grand opening of Florida Rodeo Inc; a local animal supply and western store at which you can grab anything from your basic or complex rodeo needs, to equine supplements, feed, accessories or a little something for the tiny cowboy or cowgirl in your life.

There was a bounce-house, corn-hole tournament, prize give-aways, along with other local vendors, companies and figures packing out the store & its parking lot for a day filled with fun, laughter & support for a fantastic local business.

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Janet (left), Mama (middle) and Tammi (right)

I had the pleasure of speaking with one of the owners Tammi Pettis for a few minutes before the official start time of the grand opening and discovered an even greater respect and admiration for her than I already currently had. Tammi is an acquaintance, whom I have watched at many local barrels and seen footage of her running at pro-rodeo and bigger shows. She is an incredible woman who the light of the Lord lovingly shines through her and her family. She does everything with passion and love for God and I don’t think she ever meets a stranger.

Here was our interview:

International Cowgirl: What ignited the spark to start a new business venture and/or make significant changes to  your existing business?

Florida Rodeo: I owned Florida Rodeo with my original partner Stephanie Snyder. It was just a website. We did web shipping and sell items at the local barrel races. Then in 2013, I got with my current partner, Janet, and her and I were just talking one day and we were like, wouldn’t it be cool to have a store? We knew it cost a lot of money to open a store so we came together as partners, scheduled a flight to Denver, went to the show, spent thousands and thousands of dollars, bought inventory, came back, found a location over in Edgewater and opened the store. It stayed there until December of 2015, then we relocated to Lake Helen and it’s been GREAT since we moved here! But the whole reason for the store was Janet’s daughter Sarah, started barrel races, I barrel race on pro level and we were going to these local western stores and you couldn’t find a shirt that tucked in, or boots that WE liked unless we drove all the way to the other side of Orlando or down South somewhere because it was catering more to the bar scene and the biker scene…because that’s what sells. So we decided that we are going to cater to barrel racers and rodeo. Our clothes are a little higher priced but they are what WE [as barrel racers] wear; so you can always find a shirt that tucks in, yet you can be cute and stylish, and there is always square-toed boots! We cater to cowgirls!

IC:  What motivates you?

FR: Just the love of the sport. We love rodeo and we love working with people. I am also a realtor, wait tables at night, train horses…we are always busy but really just the love of the sport and to be able to have a place for people to come and buy nice stuff for their horses and we have stuff for all budgets from beginner to $500 sets of tack.

IC: How do you generate new ideas?

FR: A lot of input from outsiders, we know a lot of people who say “Oh, I’d love to see this in your store”…Janet is VERY creative and she hand-makes a lot of stuff; jewelry and stuff like that but for the most part we got out to shows and we see stuff. I was at Sabra’s Turkey Run back in November and one of the vendors who was there had great tack. Trailer Trash, he was called. I went right up to him and asked “do you do dealerships?” and hence we why we now have Trailer Trash Tack in our store. You know, we see nice stuff and if people like it, you wanna sell it for .

(IC Side note: the Trailer Trash tack that was in the store is INCREDIBLE! see below)

IC: How do you build a successful customer base?

FR: Customer service….yup….customer service. 100%.

IC: Who has been your greatest inspiration?

FR: Carolyn Hope…she’s not with us anymore. She really got my drive for barrel racing and for rodeo, that is all accredited to  her. I could have cared less about a rodeo, and Carolyn said, no, you need to try this and she was right and I was good at it and it was all because of her.

IC: What is your favourite aspect of being a business owner?

FR: Just being able to help people find things and make things accessible for people and just interacting with people in general. It feels good to make people happy.

IC: What do you attribute most to your success?

FR: My mother! To this store???? My mother…she is here running the store Monday to Saturday 10am to 7pm. She really keeps it going. It is a family ordeal for sure. My husband and son support me 100% also. Janet supports it 100% – we all come together and we make it happen.

IC: What are your hobbies and what do you do in your non-work time?

FR: We go pretty hard but I love horses, I love to rodeo, I also love to spend time with my family. Me and the boys (husband Rick and son Wyatt), we will go four-wheeling…anything to spend time with my boys. That is my biggest thing.

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So if you are in need of some functional and super cute rodeo clothing, Florida Rodeo is your place to go. They also have everything you need for your horse from tack and accessories, to supplements and feed. As a horse owner herself, of many horses, she knows that those four-legged babies come first in our lives and we love to spoil them!

Check them out on Facebook Florida Rodeo Inc – Facebook or on stop by and check them out. They are located at 360 S Lakeview Dr, Suite 1, Lake Helen, FL, 32744. Also, if you are at one of the local barrel shows in or around the area, they can bring your items out to you if you give them enough heads-up of course.

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Ram National Circuit Finals Rodeo 2016

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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.

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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.

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Miss Rodeo Utah chatting with a young fan and her father.
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Miss Rodeo Washington & Miss Rodeo Ohio smiling big! 
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Miss Rodeo Florida Sweetheart, Brighten Mick connected with a lot of the rodeo’s younger fans. 

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.

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Miss Rodeo Utah & Miss Rodeo Texas. 
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Rodeo Queens sign autographs for visitors. 

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.

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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.

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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.

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Tim O’Connell riding hard in Saturday night’s performance. I have been researching for days trying to find the name of this bronc & its contractor. I…am..in..love…

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.

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Sherri Cervi rounding the first barrel in the finals, Sunday. 
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Emily Miller headin’ home after rounding the third turn. 

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?!?!

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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.

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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!

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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!

~International Cowgirl

 

 

It’s The Final Countdown!

If you sang the title in your head like I did when typing it, we need to be best friends. Just sayin’.

Anyway, you guessed it! We are only 2 days away from the kick off of the RAM National Circuit Finals Rodeo !!!! Are you ready to rodeeoooooooo!?!?!?!?!?

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Photo credit: RNCFR.com 

We will be out there Saturday and Sunday so if you see us, stop by and say hello! We’d love to meet some of our readers!

I want to hear from you this week on a couple of things.

  1. What is your favourite part of the rodeo? It can be anything – there is no wrong answers.
  2. Who are you routing for in what event?

 

Chat with you soon! Stay safe and God Bless!

~International Cowgirl