Black Rodeo USA and the Jacksonville Free Press invited everyone who was ready to enjoy “The Hottest Show on Dirt,” as the first Black rodeo premiered in the River City. two sold out shows brought out cowboys and cowgirls in their finest western gear for the ringside show. Thousands of locals saddled up for live action, livestock, and off-road living filled with colorful anecdotes and traditional rodeo fun to entertain and educate guests. The Jacksonville Equestrian Center was the site for fans to celebrate African-American history and culture for the tour that began in 2011. The family-oriented event showcased rodeo competitors bull riding, tie down roping, steer wrestling, steer decorating, ladies barrel racing, relay races and more. the rodeo even had a level of audience engagement that included a dance contest and steer wrestling for women.
“After dealing with the challenges of a pandemic, we are grateful to bring our appreciation, joy and expertise to Duval to spread the history and role of Black Cowboys played in shaping the history of the West,” said Lanette Campbell, Black Rodeo USA President/CEO.
Inside the Equestrian center the Buffalo Soldiers Motorcycle Club served as parade grand marshals. Honored by Black Rodeo USA, the well know motorcycle club brought a thrilling level of excitement in their western gear to the rodeo field for a tribute to their contributions to Florida and their local chapter.
The crowd opened the rodeo singing the Black national anthem, ‘Lift Every Voice and Sing’ and presented a scholarship to MLK Foundation Ms. Juneteenth Kimberly Green. Vendors sold all types of western paraphernalia to the delight of attendees. In addition, food rucks provided an open air experience for patrons to explore their culinary favorites from seafood to barbecue.
‘I’ve never seem anythng like it,” said E;ise Whitfield. The first time rodeo attnendee said she came on a whim and enjoyed the exposure to different side of the culture, there is nothing like knowing our history. With a little R&B and loads of laughs, we couldn’t go wrong.” she said.
The flagship rode began in Arizona and has been going strong since 2011. One of the largest and most popular African-American cultural and educational events in Arizona, the Arizona Rodeo has attracted as many as 9,000 rodeo fans across a weekend of fun and exciting Western experiences designed for the entire family.
The annual rodeos promotes an appreciation for cultural heritage, provides education about the role African Americans played in shaping the history of the West, while giving youth a hands-on experience with sportsmanship, equestrianism and agriculture.
Shown l-r is Karen Chambers (Buffalo Soldiers National Ambassador), Lanette Campbell (Black Rodeo USA President/CEO) and Juandalynn Caldwell (Secretary Buffalo Soldiers Motorcycle Club Jacksonville Chapter).