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Cracker Day Rodeo coming this weekend

January 22, 2020
By CHUCK BALLARO ( , North Fort Myers Neighbor

One of the oldest events in North Fort Myers returns to the Posse Arena this Friday, Saturday and Sunday, and people of all ages can participate.

The 59th annual Cracker Day Rodeo will take place, featuring three days of action and many of the events you would expect to see as well as a few you might not.

The rodeo returned last year after missing 2018 following Hurricane Irma and the devastation is caused to the arena, with a three-day event that included competition for pee-wees, juniors and adults. The same goes for this year.

"It's going to be a long weekend, that's all I can say," said Bobbi Harrison. "We're hoping for a great rodeo. We hope the weather stays nice and we hope people enjoy everything there."

After starting out at Terry Park and Page Field, the rodeo moved to its present location at Palm Creek Drive in the late '60s, thanks to its original founders buying the property, and has been there ever since.

The last founding member of the Posse Arena, John Woods, passed away last month, and the rodeo will be dedicated in his honor.

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This rodeo is a little different than your traditional rodeo, in that it has some unusual events such as Buddy Pick-up, pole bending, breakaway roping, "branding," and more to go along with the bull riding and barrel racing.

There also will be mutton busting, calf scramble, cow patty bingo and a 50/50 raffle to benefit the Lee County Junior Posse.

There will be thousands of dollars of added money, including $2,000 each for team roping and the 4-D barrel racing, sponsored by Sweet Cypress Ranch. The winners will also receive a buckle.

"The caliber of riders we're getting in our area are starting to show big out west. The big events happen there," Harrison said.

The annual event serves as the big fundraiser for the arena, a non-profit organization which was founded in 1960 and has survived as an all-volunteer group that gets no financial support from any government entity.

The rodeo celebrates Florida ranchers who have worked the fields and cattle of interior Florida for well over a century.

Friday's rodeo starts at 6:30 p.m., with Saturday's performance at 5:30 p.m.

Slack, for those who want to compete but cannot get into the performance, will start at 8 a.m.

On Sunday, after Cowboy Church at 8 a.m., will be the Pee Wee and Junior rodeo at 9:30, with barrels, poles, goal tying and breakaway roping.

The gates will reopen at noon for the final adult performance at 2 p.m.

"The kids are as big a part of the rodeo as anybody and we have some special awards for them," Harrison said.

Parking is $5. Adult admission is $20, kids 12 and under and military and first responders are $10, with children under 5 free.

If anyone is still interested in competing in slack, they can contact Sherry at 691-6432.



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