by Jeff Cole
The Ellicottville Championship Rodeo is saddling up for its 24th year of riding, roping family fun.
The four-day event will take place at 7 p.m. July 5-7 and at 2 p.m. July 8 at 6319 Sommerville Valley RD. The cost to attend is $17 for ages 13 and up and $9 for ages 12 and
under, with kids ages 5 and under admitted free and tickets can be purchased online at www.ellicottvillerodeo.com or at the gate. Gates will open two hours before each show time.
John Kent, founder of the Ellicottville Championship Rodeo, said that nine events are shown each day: bareback bronc riding, saddle bronc riding, calf roping, team roping, team penning, junior bull riding, steer wrestling, girls’ barrel racing and big-bull riding.
“The rodeo is really exciting. It’s a real Wild West rodeo,” he said. “It’s the real deal.”
New to this year’s rodeo are rodeo clown Dusty Myers, a mechanical bull, trick riding and Roman riding.
“(Trick riding) is when pretty women ride fast horses and hang off them upside down and stand on them at full-gallop, and Roman riding is when a pretty girl rides two horses at the same time, standing up, one foot on either horse,” said Kent.
Spectators at the rodeo this year will be able to watch more than 350 rodeo athletes while sitting on either bleachers on one side of the ring or on benches on the other side on a bank. Kent said that thousands of people from all over the world come to watch the rodeo and that some people even schedule their vacations to attend it.
“We get a lot of people out of the Buffalo area and a lot of people out of the Pennsylvania area. We have had a lot of people who have come to this rodeo just by accident. They were in the area and caught our rodeo,” he said. “They schedule their vacations now to come up and watch the rodeo. It’s unbelievable.”
For the little cowpokes, a bounce house and a bounce slide will be available, and children can sign up at the gate to participate in a stick horse race. Also on hand at the rodeo will be the rodeo’s popular chicken barbecue, as well as a beer tent and vendors selling hot dogs, hamburgers, soft drinks and pizza.
Other items, such as cowboy hats and stick horses will also be for sale. Fireworks will take place right after the July 5-7 shows.
Kent said that all of his buildings are up to date and that he is always receiving comments on how clean his rodeo grounds are. What’s also clean about the rodeo is the fun.
“It’s great family entertainment and good clean fun,” he said. “Rodeos are for families. Kids and families can come in here and they’re safe. It’s a good clean atmosphere, it’s a lot of excitement. There’s always something going on.”