Ranch rodeo features skills cowboys use daily

OKEECHOBEE — There will be plenty to cheer for at the Pete Clemons Memorial Ranch Rodeo in Okeechobee on Saturday, July 27: cowboys, bucking horses, calf roping and more. Spectators will also be cheering that admission to this family-friendly event is free.

Just don’t expect to see any bull riding.

Saturday’s rodeo in Okeechobee is a ranch rodeo. Teams of cowboys and cowgirls from area ranches compete in events based on skills they use in their work on the ranches every day. Bull riding, a staple of a professional rodeo competitions, has no place on a working cattle ranch.

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In the bronc riding event at ranch rodeo, cowboys use a regular ranch saddle, not the special gear used in a PRCA rodeo.

Spectators will see bronc riding and calf roping and other skills in demand on a working ranch. They’ll also see teams of cowboys attempt to cut specific calves — the calves each wear a number, and the announcer draws the numbers out of a hat — out of a herd while keeping all of the other calves from crossing a line in the arena.

A rodeo version of “calf branding” uses paint on the branding iron.

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In the team sorting event, team members try to keep the rest of the cattle from crossing a line in the arena, as one team member tries to cut calves from the herd according to the number called by the announcer.

If you’ve never been to a ranch rodeo, don’t worry. The announcer will explain the events and scoring. Just pick a team to cheer for, or cheer for them all!

The Okeechobee ranch rodeo is a qualifying regional rodeo for the Florida Ranch Rodeo and Cowboy Heritage Festival. The State Ranch Rodeo Finals will be at Silver Spurs Arena at Osceola Heritage Park in Kissimmee, Sept. 27-28.

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