Bonifay Kiwanis Club to Host 72nd Annual Northwest Florida Championship Rodeo
The town of Bonifay, Florida is known near and far for its annual world-class rodeo and you can be a part of this exciting event October 6th-8th – not by just attending, but by volunteering! The event, hosted by the Bonifay Kiwanis Club is, at its heart, a fundraiser. Volunteers and new club members are always needed to keep this tradition alive and thriving for the community.
Are you looking for a way to give back, contribute and become more involved in the community? This rodeo may hold the key! Most people don’t know this, but only a small percentage of the proceeds from the event are used to partially fund the next year’s rodeo. The rest is given away in the form of scholarships and charitable donations to children and youth-oriented organizations every year. To date, the Bonifay Kiwanis Club has donated well over $1,000,000 to children and youth in Holmes County. In fact, a key emphasis for 2016 rodeo events is to increase awareness and donations for the Holmes County Backpack Program, which helps provide food for children so they don’t go hungry over the weekend.
The idea for the rodeo was born in 1944 upon the suggestion of Secretary/Treasurer Paul Bowyer who thought the club should create a rodeo fundraiser and the first rodeo event was held in 1946. During that first rodeo, onlookers stood behind the pasture-type fence or sat on bales of hay as they watched the rodeo. Kiwanians and their wives operated the concession stands and ticket booths. After the event, the club agreed to hold the rodeo annually on the first weekend of October because it was believed it virtually never rained on that weekend. As the rodeo continued to grow, the club realized that it needed professional assistance and enlisted the help of its first paid stock contractor. Later the club joined the Rodeo Cowboys Association, now the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association (PRCA). By joining PRCA, the event began attracting cowboys from all over the U.S. who wanted to participate in the Northwest Florida Championship Rodeo to earn local prize money and points toward the national championship. In the 1950s, the club added a rodeo parade on Friday and Saturday to the activities – a tradition that continues today.
This year, rodeo attendees can expect to see some of the best rodeo contestants attend in hopes of scoring a few more points toward the Ram National Circuit Finals Rodeo in Kissimmee, Florida. In fact, for some of the cowboys and cowgirls the Northwest Florida Championship Rodeo is their first opportunity to earn points before starting on the yearly tour leading to the Southeast Circuit Finals. Spectators watch these top rodeo contestants compete for thousands of dollars in seven rodeo events: Bareback Riding, Tie-Down Roping, Saddle Bronc Riding, Team Roping, Steer Wrestling, Barrel Racing and Bull Riding. Included in the three-day event, are world-famous specialty acts, wild steer dressing competitions, two rodeo parades and much more!
“Don’t forget that this is more than just a 3-day rodeo,” said Christopher Lauen, Bonifay Kiwanis Club President. “Our club and community partners host everything from a beauty pageant to a youth rodeo Bible camp and even a 5K walk/run,” he continued.
You won’t want to miss this annual event taking place October 6-8 at Memorial Field in Bonifay, Florida. Gates will open daily at 5:30 p.m. with the action starting at 7:30 p.m. nightly. In conjunction with the rodeo, there will be a rodeo parade through downtown on Friday and Saturday at 1:00 p.m.
For more information about the 72nd event, visit BonifayRodeo.com.