CRESTVIEW — The Old Spanish Trail Rodeo, an Okaloosa County fixture, celebrates its silver anniversary next month.
This year's rodeo is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. April 11 and 12 at the Baker Area Recreation Association's Barnhill Arena. Advance and reserve tickets are available.
"This is our 25th year, so it's kind of exciting just to reach that milestone," Mark Todd, the Baker Area Recreation Association's president, said. "From my perspective, it's a testament of all the board members, past and present. And the spectators that come and see us year after year.
"Those people have helped us get to this point — the 25-year milestone. Any time you can get to 25 years, you are doing something good."
While the rodeo is proud to reach the quarter-century mark, there will be no special ceremonies, Todd said.
'We will focus mainly on the entertainment aspect and the fact that we have a (Professional Cowboy Association) event again this year, which was new to us last year," he said. "We will focus more on the rodeo than the 25, but we are certainly going to announce in the paper and in the ads that this is our 25th anniversary."
Last year, the Old Spanish Trail Rodeo was ranked the No. 2 rodeo on the PCA circuit based on participants, prize money and attendance, among other factors, Todd said. It features traditional rodeo events such as saddle bronc riding, bareback riding, bull riding, calf roping, team roping, break away roping steer wrestling,
Longtime crowd favorites will be on hand to entertain rodeo fans between events.
Rodeo clown Rudy Burns, a rodeo fixture, for more than 15 years, returns. "Rudy is one of those individuals who has helped us build our rodeo into what it is today," Todd said. "Not only does he do a great job of entertaining as the rodeo clown, but (also) with the safety of the riders."
Veteran announcer Jim Poole will again call the action.
And, for the third consecutive year, the All-American Cowgirl Chicks return to delight fans with a top-notch show that includes music and trick riding.
"It's highly unusual for us to have an act in back-to-back years," Todd said. "But they do such a great job for us, not only from the entertainment in the middle of the rodeo, but (also) at the start of the rodeo. They come in a day or two in advance and promote and go to the radio stations with us. They will do meet and greet (events in the community). They just add a tremendous amount to the overall rodeo event."
The rodeo will recognize a Wounded Warrior each night and present the honoree with an American flag from that night's event.
Two new additions to this year's rodeo will be bull fighters performing each night. And Saturday night will be Breast Cancer Awareness Night.
"We are going to promote Saturday night as 'Be tough and wear pink,'" Todd said, adding that a portion of proceeds will benefit breast cancer awareness.
Meanwhile, the rodeo continues to look for sponsors. If you would like to know more about sponsorships or advance ticket sales, you can visit the rodeo website at www.bakerarena.com.
"We want to have a great rodeo not only for the spectators, but (also) for the participants, and equal," Todd said. "I want the people that come to this rodeo to be excited about it and enjoy their experience."
Randy Dickson is the Crestview News Bulletin’s sports editor. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org, tweet him @BigRandle, or call 682-6524.
WANT TO GO
What: Old Spanish Trail Rodeo
When: 7:30 p.m. April 11-12; gates open at 5:30 p.m.
Where: Barnhill Arena, Baker
Cost: Reserve seating $20. General admission: Adults, $12 advance, $15 at gate; children ages 5-12, $7 advance, $10 gate; children under 5, free