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Posse Arena gets ready for busy season

By CHUCK BALLARO - | Dec 9, 2020

Savannah Mesmer turns a barrel during the Friday night Jackpot barrel race at the Lee County Posse Arena. CHUCK BALLARO


The Lee County Posse Arena has had its share of challenges over the past few years and, following a hurricane in 2017 that nearly destroyed the arena, this year’s COVID-19 pandemic easily could have thrown them for a loop again.

Remarkably, the arena got let off easily. After closing for two months, they returned to their regular schedule of barrel races and even have a full slate of rodeos planned for the end of this year and the winter of 2021.

Sherry Groff, arena president, said things were a little slow in the summer before they started coming back.

“Everybody was practicing and social distancing. Plus being outside was a huge benefit. So far, everything is going well and we’re looking forward to 2021,” Groff said.

On Friday, the arena hosted its final Friday night 4-D jackpot race of the year and handed out the end-of-season awards in all four racing divisions in the Sweet Cypress Ranch (SCR) and Lee County Posse buckle series.

Sherry Groff, arena president, said there are a lot of events planned for the arena going forward, including Mexican rodeos, one of which was held last month, with another planned for Dec. 19. Details are still to come.

Groff said attendance was good for the first rodeo, and she believes the next one will be just as successful.

Looking ahead to 2021, the 60th annual Cracker Day Rodeo is planned for Jan. 15 to 17, with all the ranch-style events you’ve come to love and even a few surprises, with one new event that is guaranteed to draw some interest.

The biggest event of the year, the PRCA Fort Myers Rodeo, will be held in February for three days on either the weekend of the 13th or the 20th.

“We have the dates locked in. It’s just a matter of what the PRCA decides regarding if they will do it or not,” Groff said.

Of course, the Friday night buckle series will continue in 2021. Groff said there will also be new people coming in

As for the final race, Isabella Ford won the 1-D race with a 14.450 time to win 10 points and $234. Y-Cyiah Avila was the 2-D winner. Jasmine Nicklos won in the 3-D division, while Sonia Diaz won in 4-D.

1-D has the fastest overall racers, 2-D are for racers a half-second behind the winner, 3-D is for racers one second behind, and 4-D is for all those two seconds behind, leaving the results and payouts uncertain until the very last rider.

The buckle winners were:

Poles: SBR: Bre Provent

Posse: Juliannne Slaybaugh

Barrel Racing:

1-D SBR: Madison Murphy

Posse: Jada Sanchez

2-D SBR: Aubrey St. Pierre

Posse: Julianne Slaybaugh

3-D SBR: Jasmine Nicklos

Posse: Alyvia Dennison

4-D SBR: Sonia Diaz

Posse: Genifer Williams

The Lee County Posse Arena, at 17401 Palm Creek Drive, is a non-profit organization dedicated to giving area youth a chance to ride and start a lifelong love for horses. For more information, go to www.leecountyposse.com.