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Cracker Day Rodeo to hold 60th annual show this weekend

By CHUCK BALLARO - | Jan 13, 2021


For 60 years, the Cracker Day Rodeo has celebrated the tradition of working ranchers moving cattle throughout the state of Florida.

This weekend, the Lee County Posse Arena, at 17401 Palm Creek Drive, will host one of Lee County’s longest-running events for the 60th time featuring three days of performances, including the annual Pee-Wee and Junior Rodeo on Friday.

They have only missed 2018 in the aftermath of Hurricane Irma.

“We’re getting a big response. The kids really love getting their time in,” said Bobbi Harrison, adding that the rodeo serves as the biggest fundraiser for the arena, which allows Lee County kids a place to ride their horses.

It will be held in memory of their last founding board member Hardy Silcox, Sr. and Mary Lou Johns, owner of Mary Lou’s Western Wear, an avid supporter of the arena.

The rodeo will feature many of the events people enjoy, such as bull riding, calf roping and barrel racing, and will also include events not typically seen, events that exemplify the ranch lifestyle.

Friday will feature ranch bronc riding, a first at the rodeo. It will also feature the Buddy pick-up, where a rider comes to pick up a partner at the other end of the arena and bring him/her back home.

Also, for the first time, will be the Cowgirl Trifecta, where women will first breakaway rope a calf, run the barrel racing course before getting off and tying a goat.

“It’s like the triathlon, but it’s rodeo style. Of course, we have the barrel race with $2,000 added,” Harrison said.

There will also be mutton bustin’ and the calf scramble for the kids, as well as numerous vendors, food concessions and a 50/50 raffle to benefit the Lee County Junior Posse.

In light of the continuing pandemic, Harrison said they will take all the precautions and perhaps limit ticket sales, if needed. And since this is an outdoor event, it should make things safer still, he added.

“We will ask people to socially distance and wear a mask. Being an outdoor event helps and it gives people space,” Harrison said. “We want everyone to have a good, safe time.”

The Cracker Day Rodeo starts at 6:30 p.m. on Friday, at 5:30 p.m. on Saturday, and at 1:30 p.m. on Sunday with the presentation of the flag and National Anthem. The actual performance begins 30 minutes later.

Tickets are $20 for adults, $15 for military and first responders, $10 for those 12 and under and free for 5 and under. Parking is $5.

For more information, go to www.leecountyposse.com.