For a real dose of Old West tradition, rodeos are a true reality check. They’re a transformation of some of the real, back-breaking work that takes place on a ranch—roping calves, taming bulls—and sometimes the cowboy comes out the worse for wear.
But the contest between man and bucking bronc is always breathtaking (and a bargain for the all-day family entertainment you get). July and August are big rodeo months, with major events all across the country (and in Canada, too). You can even find some ranches with their own rodeo arena (like Malibu Ranch, mentioned earlier this month); for a complete list, click on Ranchweb’s list here.
Here’s a brief roundup of some of the more unusual rodeos this month:
The State’s Largest Night Rodeo
July 18-21, Pretty Prairie
It’s the big 75th this year! Offering the country’s best professional cowboys, top-quality stock, and prime family entertainment, this little Kansas town has it all. For more, check www.pprodeo.com/ or 800/638-2702
Last Chance Stampede & Fair
July 25-29, Helena
Country Music Stars, a PRA rodeo and the Demolition Derby, plus fun family-friendly events like a kiddie stick horse rodeo, an amusements carnival, and more make the Last Chance one popular event. Lewis & Clark County Fairgrounds; www.lewisandclarkcountyfairgrounds.com/ or call 406/457-8516.
Now through-Sept. 29, 2012
Cowtown Rodeo, rural Salem County
What? Cowboys in New Jersey? You bet! Come experience Cowtown Rodeo every Saturday night at 7:30pm. Set in The Boss’s home state, Cowtown brings it, with all seven of the rodeo events that are sanctioned by the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association, from bareback bronc riding to girls barrel racing. At some 57 years of age, it’s been called the oldest weekly running rodeo in the U.S. For more, www.cowtownrodeo.com/ or call 856/ 769-3200