By Elizabeth Riggs
It’s the most wonderful time of the year! That’s right. It’s time for the Ellicottville Championship Rodeo, which will be saddling up from June 29 through July 2.
Located at 6319 Sommerville Road, just outside Ellicottville, the Ellicottville Championship Rodeo marks its 29th year, and is one of the largest International Professional Rodeo Association/APRA sanctioned rodeos in the Northeast.
The fun-filled weekend will bring in more than 600 cowboys from all over the world who will compete in nine rodeo events, including: bareback bronc riding, saddle bronc riding, steer wrestling, team roping, junior bull riding, cowgirls barrel racing, calf roping, cowgirl breakaway roping and bull riding.
“Cowboys come from all over the world,” said John Kent, who owns and runs the rodeo with his wife, Karen.
The rodeo will also feature a clown and trick riders, which Kent said are amazing to watch.
“We have three trick riders that are coming in. It’s a mom and daughter and another little girl, 11 and 12 years old. They do a fantastic opener. It’s a big eye opener for other little kids. The horses are running full tilt. It’s quite an art to be able to do that. A lot of athletic ability is needed,” he said.
But the fun doesn’t stop there. There is also a kid’s stick horse rodeo for children 10 and under. Parents can register their children when they enter the Tack Tent, and purchase a stick horse on-site.
Gates for every show open two hours before the rodeo begins in order to allow guests extra time to come in and enjoy the homemade food, including a famous chicken BBQ.
“We do all the food here. Most people come and watch the rodeo, but what they really come for is the chicken BBQ,” said Kent. “We also have pizza, hamburgers, hot dogs, salads, and ice cream. Not every rodeo has ice cream, but Ellicottville does.”
Guests can also browse through the craft vendors and stick around after the evening rodeo shows for fireworks.
So with rodeo, a clown, trick riders, food, crafts and fireworks, what more could people possibly want? Nothing! According to Kent, some people love the rodeo so much they call to get their tickets six months in advance.
“We have a huge following. People love the rodeo here. Families count on coming here every year. I have people calling me in January and February lining up their tickets,” Kent said. “It’s quite something to see all those people coming. It’s great entertainment for the entire family.”
There are only four days a year to witness an authentic rodeo right in Ellicottville. Don’t miss out on your chance for some good old-fashioned fun for the whole family.
Shows will be held Thursday, June 29 through Saturday, July 1 at 7 p.m. with fireworks following the show. There will also be a show on Sunday, July 2 at 2 p.m. Gates open two hours before each show, and guests can come early to buy tickets on the day of the show.
Pre-sale tickets, which are available until June 25, are $18 for adults. Regular admission is $20 for adults which includes ages 13 and up. Children 12 and under are $10 pre-sale, and $12 at the gate, Kids five and under are free.
For more information about the Ellicottville Championship Rodeo, visit their website: www.ellicottvillerodeo.com.