Homestead Championship Rodeo

Put away those swimsuits and beach towels and put on your cowboy boots and hats.

The 64th Annual Homestead Championship Rodeo will be held at Doc DeMilly Rodeo Arena at Harris Field, 1034 NE Eighth Street, from Jan. 25 through 27.

The three-day event has raised the bar this year with its bull riding competition said Ryan Krantz, vice president of the Homestead Rodeo Association.

“We have raised the stakes for competitors, adding more prize money to each event than has ever been added before,” he said. “This will attract and entice new competitors and top-notch champions to come from all over the country to compete.”

Contestants will compete to earn money to qualify to make the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo in Las Vegas in December. The Wrangler National Finals Rodeo is the Super Bowl of rodeo.

The Homestead Rodeo, which is the southernmost rodeo in the country, has a long history in the city. The Homestead Rodeo Association was formed in 1952 and was run by local businessmen who loved the sport.

The rodeo is sanctioned by the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association, with championship events featured at each performance: bareback and saddle bronco riding, tie-down roping, team roping, steer wrestling, cowgirls’ barrel racing and bull riding. This year, there is a new event, the Junior Women’s Barrel Racing, where girls as young as 10 will take their chance at competing for prize money.

“Its a real exciting thing to watch someone so young have complete command over her horse in that arena and it is quickly becoming another crowd favorite,” said Krantz.

Krantz said he expects over 15,000 people to attend the three-day event. On Saturday, a parade will be held at 11 a.m. beginning on Krome Avenue at Flagler Street, and running north on Krome through downtown Homestead. The parade continues north to Campbell Drive and then turn east headed straight for the rodeo grounds and ends at Dixie Highway. Homestead’s 100-year anniversary will be also be celebrated.

Moreover, more than 200 horses, cattle and other animals will participate in the rodeo. Children can enjoy a petting zoo and pony rides. Fans can interact with contestants.

Food such as hot dogs, hamburgers and elephant ears will be available for purchase.

Krantz said South Florida is perfect for a rodeo.

“Geographically located just south of Miami and just north of the Florida Keys, it’s easily accessible for anyone coming to visit and enjoy the rodeo,” he said. “We have visitors from all over the world in South Florida communities and every year we always get fans coming out from all over the world to enjoy themselves in a comfortable, fun environment and get a taste of true Americana.”