Southernmost rodeo in the continental U.S.
Florida is a strange amalgam of Deep South meets New York, with a little Havana and Puerto Rico thrown in.
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 75th year in January 2024. It’s one of the first rodeos in the circuit of the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association 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, rodeo clown and barrelmen and in past years, a parachute jump into the arena by 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, barrel racing and the crowd-pleasing bull riding.
- Dates: Jan. 26-29, 2024
- Admission is $25 adults, $15 for kids. (2020 prices)
- Where: Harris Field, U.S. 1 and Campbell Drive, Homestead, FL
- There is a free rodeo parade at 11 a.m. Saturday in downtown Homestead
- For more information and ticket sales, go to homesteadrodeo.com
Things to do near 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 are dense, rich and gooey and people go to extraordinary lengths to buy them. Read more about visiting Knaus Berry Farm. Be aware: Knaus Berry closes on Sunday.
- 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.
- 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.
- Florida Rambler’s guide to the Redland area, which includes and surrounds Homestead, includes many other great stops: Schnebly Redland’s Winery, Cauley Square Historic Village. Read about exploring rustic charm in the Redland.
- There’s a unique park in Homestead that showcases trees and other plants that produce edible fruits and nuts. Here’s a Florida Rambler story on Fruit and Spice Park.
- One of the strangest places in South Florida is Coral Castle. Here from Florida Rambler are 15 things to amaze you at this mysterious ‘work of art’ in Homestead
- Love orchids? R.F. Orchids in the nearby Redland is a must for you.
Lodging & Camping
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The author, Bonnie Gross, travels with her husband David Blasco, discovering off-the-beaten path places to hike, kayak, bike, swim and explore. Florida Rambler was founded in 2010 by Bonnie and fellow journalist Bob Rountree, two long-time Florida residents who have spent decades exploring the Florida outdoors. Their articles have been published in the Sun Sentinel, the Miami Herald, the Orlando Sentinel, The Guardian and Visit Florida.