4 Things Rodeo Education and Appreciation Day Teaches Kids in the Local Community
Part of our goal in representing the RAM National Circuit Finals Rodeo and the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association is to help educate our youth about the history of the great sport of rodeo! Kissimmee, Florida is no stranger to the sport of rodeo, having played a huge role in the local community for decades. Since 1953 in Osceola County, the schools have been granted a countywide holiday deemed “Rodeo Day!” This means that each year in February, kids get out of school for the day to attend the local Silver Spurs Rodeo. Since the Silver Spurs Rodeo has been wildly successful, we were able to bring the RAM National Circuit Finals Rodeo to Kissimmee. To complement what has been in place for generations, the RNCFR strives to educate local children on the following pieces of the rodeo at our Rodeo Education and Appreciation Day! Read about four things Rodeo Education and Appreciation Day teaches kids in our local community.
The sport of rodeo originated in the late 1800s. Its roots are traced all the way back to the Spanish settling in California and became cattle ranchers. The definition of “rodeo” is a Spanish word meaning roundup. The skills acquired by the early Spanish vaqueros (cowboys) were passed on to the American cowboy after the Civil War. The difference between Spanish rodeo and American rodeo is that Spanish focuses on the style while American focuses on speed.
We know a child’s education is extremely important. Some things are not always taught in a classroom and can be learned through real-life, personal experiences or seeing something first-hand. On Rodeo Education and Appreciation Day, local students find how the sport of rodeo really originated from the day-to-day chores or tasks a cowboy or cowgirl must do to manage their ranch land and animals. For example, saddle bronc riding, known as the classic rodeo event, derived from the task of breaking and training horses to work cattle on the ranches of the Old West. And tie-down roping originated when calves were sick or injured on the ranch and cowboys had to rope and immobilize them quickly for the veterinarian to treat them.
The animals that compete at the RAM National Circuit Finals Rodeo are the best livestock in rodeo today. Just as the contestants need to qualify to compete, these animals have been competing during a full calendar year to earn their spot in the competition. These animals are hauled by stock contractors from all across the US to make their way to Kissimmee for their chance to shine. We take this opportunity to explain to the students that just as you might take care of your household pet, the stock contractors take great care of their animals. Most of them are treated like kings and queens! If you talk to a stock contractor, they will tell you, “My animals eat before I do, eat way better quality food than I do, and they sleep before I do.” These animals are a huge part of their families. Some have bloodlines dating back centuries ago! For rough stock events in the sport of rodeo, the animal makes up half of a contestant’s score, meaning just as the contestant is scored on his performance, so is the animal. Aside from the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo, the RNCFR is the ONLY other rodeo where you can watch the top livestock compete from approximately 13 different stock contractors. They worked very hard to be here for you, the fans!
Unique Family-Friendly Experience
Has your family ever been to a rodeo before? Kiddos these days are glued to gizmos and gadgets. Though screen time can be great, our rodeo offers a thrilling, family-friendly experience for almost any age sure to keep you on the edge of your seat, better than YouTube! Students get to see firsthand how the performances are action-packed and crowd engaging, and how sometimes, our rodeo clown will even join you in the stands!
At Rodeo Education and Appreciation Day, our focus is on the kids, their experience, and providing them an opportunity they otherwise might not have. For this performance, we allow all the students, chaperones, and teachers free admission. We also provide a free lunch to each student who attends, serving approximately 4,300 lunches thanks to our community partners! For some kids, this may be the very first rodeo they have ever seen. For others that perhaps attend our local rodeos regularly, it allows them to cheer on and follow their favorite rodeo champions.
Besides teaching just our youth about the sport, we hope to educate those in and around our local community about our national event. We’d love to have you join us at the RAM National Circuit Finals Rodeo March 21st-24th, 2019!