Homestead rodeo — the southernmost rodeo in the continental United States — is Jan. 22-24, 2016.
If you travel around the Sunshine State, you also learn about a rich history of cattle ranching and “cow hunters” — what Florida called its Cracker cowboys, who “hunted” cattle by rounding them up with distinctive-sounding bullwhips.
So, it is not all that surprising that Florida has a rich history of rodeos in its small towns. One of the longest lasting traditional rodeos and the southernmost rodeo in the United States is in Homestead.
The Homestead Rodeo celebrates its 67th year in 2016. It’s one of the first rodeos in the circuit of the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Assn., and thus draws cowboys from around the country who want to start accumulating points toward the December national finals.
The rodeo is a mix of professional rodeo events and small-town celebration, but organizers bring in top talent — the best rodeo announcers, the U.S. Marine Corps Mounted Color Guard, the U.S. Army Golden Knights Parachute Team.
Seven championship events are featured; bare-back and saddle bronco riding, tie-down roping, team roping, steer wrestling, cowgirls’ barrel racing and the crowd-pleasing bull riding.
Homestead Rodeo details:
- Times: 8 p.m., Friday, Jan. 22, 2 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 23 and 2 p.m. Sunday Jan. 24, 2016.
- Admission is $20 adults, $10 for kids.
- There is a free rodeo parade at 11 a.m. in downtown Homestead on Saturday.
- Discount tickets can be purchased in advance at homesteadrodeo.com
Homestead Rodeo schedule:
8 p.m. Friday Jan. 22, 2016: “Tough Enough to Wear Pink” Night at Harris Field Doc DeMilly Rodeo Arena. Attendees are encouraged to wear pink. Well-known rodeo announcer Wayne Brooks will be the rodeo announcer for all three performances.. The specialty act, rodeo clown & barrelman will be Trent McFarland.
Performing all weekend are the Homestead Everglades Posse Precision Mounted Drill Team and the U.S. Marine Corp Mounted Color Guard. Based in Barstow, California, they are the last remaining Mounted Color Guard in the Marine Corps today.
Saturday Jan, 23, 2016: Free rodeo parade through historic downtown Homestead at 11 a.m. This year’s parade theme is “Books and Broncs! Homestead Rodeo Association’s Literacy Program.” This is a HRA reading program for first graders at local Homestead area schools. The rodeo performance at Harris Field Doc DeMilly Rodeo Arena begins at 2 p.m. The U.S. Army Golden Knights Parachute Team are scheduled to perform a parachute jump into the arena.
2 p.m. Sunday Jan. 24, 2016: This performance is a salute the men and women of our Armed Forces. Fans are encouraged to wear red, white and blue in support. Again scheduled to perform a parachute jump into the arena are the U.S. Army Golden Knights Parachute Team.
More things to do in Homestead:
- Knaus Berry Farm. The Knaus family has operated a farm and bakery in the Redland for 50 years. When the storefront farm stand opens for the season in late October, folks start lining up. The cinnamon rolls (80 cents each) are dense, rich and gooey and people go to extraordinary lengths to buy them. Read more about visiting Knaus Berry Farm.
- Robert Is Here. Famous for its fresh-fruit milk shakes, exotic fruits and vegetables, its petting zoo and general fun atmosphere, visit funky Robert Is Here on your way to nearby Everglades National Park.
- Love flowers? Free tours of R.F. Orchids in the nearby Redland area are a must for orchid lovers.
- Florida Rambler’s guide to the Redland area, which includes and surrounds Homestead, includes many other great stops: Fruit and Spice Park, Schnebly Redland’s Winery, Cauley Square Historic Village. Read about exploring rustic charm in the Redland.
- Of course, you’re moments from the Homestead entrance to Everglades National Park. Here’s a Florida Rambler guide to visiting the Everglades National park.
Lodging & camping:
- There is camping in Everglades National Park, of course. Reserve a campsite on ReserveAmerica
- I hear good things about the inexpensive Everglades International Hostel.
- A long-time local businessman bought the Hotel Redland in downtown Homestead and has turned the 1904 hotel into a bed and breakfast with a good home-cooking restaurant in it. I’ve stayed there and found it to be a friendly place. There are a few rough edges, but it is clean, quiet and full of local character.
- Hotels in Homestead