No rod and reel needed for this rodeo — just boots, spurs and cowboy hats.
A crowd of Destin area residents took part in a rodeo that was far different than the venerable October fishing tournament. The inaugural event drew almost 2,000 to the Boys and Girls Club of the Emerald Coast fundraiser over the weekend in Hammock Bay.
The two-night event roped in more than $45,000 for the Boys and Girls Club.
This was the first real rodeo for Tim Edwards, managing partner of Fudpucker's.
"I've seen several on TV…”
But when the last cowboy put in his 8 seconds on the bull Friday night, Edwards was hooked.
"I liked it all ... it was just cool," Edwards said. "The bull riding was fun."
During the course of the event, about 200 cowboys and cowgirls participated in saddle bronc riding, calf roping, steer wrestling, breakaway roping, barrel racing, team roping and bull riding.
Decked out in her cowboy hat, 7-year-old Ava Adkinson was all about the horses.
"I like the horses," Ava said as she sat in her dad's lap, Walton County Sheriff Michael Adkinson, waiting for the rodeo to begin. Eva is currently taking riding lessons, her dad said.
"You'll never see a better investment," Adkinson said referring to the Boys and Girls Club. "I hope it's an annual event.”
The rodeo, which was sanctioned by the Professional Cowboy Association and produced by Bo Campbell Productions, kicked off with the National Anthem sang by Destin's Jackie Lynn followed by a parade of horses and riders with flags flying.
First up was the saddle bronc riding, followed by the calf roping competition. Some ladies in the bleachers were rooting for the calves, and a few of the calves managed to win and evade the lasso.
Steer wrestling was followed by breakaway roping by the cowgirls.
In between roping and riding, a rodeo clown entertained young and old alike. At one point the clown got the children out in the arena for a dance contest and a calf chase.
More than a dozen cowgirls competed in the barrel racing, but not many made a clean sweep of all the barrels. The evening wrapped up with team roping, followed by the cowboys taking a spin, literally, in the bull riding contest. There were a lot of ups and downs on the bull, but a whole lot of spinning as well.
"I like the barrel racing," said first-time rodeo attendee, James Kempton, 7, of Niceville.
A good time was had by all and organizers say they want to see the rodeo become as much of a tradition as Destin’s Fishing Rodeo.
"From first-time rodeo attendees to seasoned rodeo fans to our many gracious sponsors and vendors, all had a wonderful experience," said Jessica Jarosz, president and CEO of the Boys and Girls Clubs of the Emerald Coast.