Crowds dusted off their boots and flocked to Ormstown fairgrounds on May 12 and 13 for the much-anticipated return of the rodeo to the local arena. The cowboys and cowgirls did not disappoint, offering up two high-kicking evenings of thrills and spills.
The Ormstown Kioti Pro Rodeo started with the singing of the national anthem followed by the reciting of the cowboy’s prayer. From there on in, the action was non-stop as riders, including a few local cowboys, took to the ring to open the season for the BlackCreek Rodeo Company.
“All across the board it went off without a hitch,” says Bart Chisholm, a former competitive bull rider from Howick, who partnered with BlackCreek and event sponsors Kioti Tractor Canada and Les Equipments TM Inc. to bring the rodeo back to town. “The cowboys loved the building,” he says. “A bull rider who has been riding for over 20 years walked in and said, ‘This place was built for rodeo’,” Chisholm recalls. “That made me feel good,” he laughs.
The audience, which included seasoned fans and several greenhorns taking in their first rodeo experience, was treated to a full slate of fast-paced events including bareback riding, saddle bronc riding, calf roping, team roping, barrel racing, steer wrestling, and the crowd favourite, bull riding. Just before the bulls started bucking, some very brave junior cowboys and cowgirls took some sheep on a wild ride and lit up the crowd during the mutton-busting event.
“The spectators were friendly and ready to have a good time,” says Chisholm, who reports that the rodeo clowns, or bullfighters, were pleased with the crowds on both nights. Fortunately, there were no incidents in the stands or on the arena floor.
Tickets for both nights sold out and Chisholm says he has already heard from sponsors ready to back the event again. The response this year suggests there is room to grow the sport in Ormstown, where demand for tickets far outstripped the arena’s capacity. “I would say yes, it is going to happen again next year,” he says, suggesting the team at BlackCreek is equally content.