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Thousands attend PRCA Fort Myers Rodeo

February 27, 2019
By CHUCK BALLARO (news@breezenewspapers.com) , North Fort Myers Neighbor

For the first time, the PRCA Fort Myers Rodeo was sold out for both nights, and for those who came and withstood the pre- and post-rodeo traffic, it was well worth it.

Spectators got to see the best ropers, rasslers and riders battle it out for $20,000 in prize money. Rodeo novices also got to experience a way of life that has existed for more than 150 years.

Casey Crowther, who promoted the rodeo with his wife, Margo, said he was thrilled with the weekend, especially on Friday, which has traditionally had some seats available.

Article Photos

Sally Young takes a turn in the barrel racing during the PRCA Fort Myers Rodeo on Saturday at the Lee County Posse Arena.

CHUCK BALLARO

"We've been close every year and it was our goal to sell out Friday night and we got it done," Crowther said. "It's the only pro rodeo here within an hour drive (Arcadia and Labelle are closest) and I don't know if a lot of people know about rodeo, so they come once and they're hooked."

Fans got to see the little ones mutton busting and go for the ribbon in the calf scramble, a group of riders shoot air pistols at balloons, enjoy some barbecue, buy a new cowboy hat or accessories and even ride a mechanical bull.

Announcer Trey Windhorst returned, as did Robbie Hodges who, after a few years' absence, came back as the clown. Hi-Lo Pro Rodeo again provided the livestock.

For Windhorst, coming to North Fort Myers is one of his favorite stops.

"It feels like home down here. You get to see the same people with the same crew and same sponsors and you develop relationships you wouldn't have otherwise," Windhorst said. "There's no other job like this. You see the country, bring the family and make mini-vacations out of them."

Cowboys and cowgirls came from miles around to compete. Tannah Williams came from LaBelle to compete in junior barrels, taking care of her horse hours before she would make her 15-second run.

"I've competed here four times and my horse likes running here. I'm trying to stay on top of the junior standings," Williams said. "You don't really get a lot of time off doing this. You're always working with your horses on something."

Also, there was the entire Miss Rodeo Florida contingent, from age 9 to adult. The reigning Miss Rodeo Florida, Cara Spirazza, has been a rodeo queen for several years, serving as queen of the Southeastern States Circuit in 2017.

Spirazza said it takes more than a pretty face to have her job.

"It's a little bit pageant, and a little bit of rodeo all tied together. We do the American flag, the sponsor flags and we help with the mutton busting and calf scramble," Spirazza said, adding that this was the fifth rodeo she has been to this weekend.

The flag had been the job of Margo Crowther but, being eight months pregnant, that wasn't possible this year, so her 6-year-old daughter did the honors this year.

Tammy Moore of Fort Myers came with her family to have a night of fun watching the animals.

"We came for the events and for the cotton candy. We've been to this rodeo several times and our friends own Hooter's and they sponsor it. We come for a fun evening," Moore said.

Denise Karlen, from Cape Coral, came with a group of her friends as sponsor guests and got to watch from the VIP area.

"I love it and come every year. I enjoy the people, the events and particularly the barrel racing. I used to barrel race when I was a kid in Texas," Karlen said. "I love it's family oriented and get the kids involved."

 
 

 

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