Drawing on the exciting mix of cowboys, bucking broncos and aggressive bulls, two service clubs have launched Moorefield’s first rodeo event. The Mapleton Rodeo rides into town this weekend, running Friday through Sunday.“Rodeo has become very popular in Ontario over the last 15 years. They are generally put together because they are a fundraiser for the community; in our case, the Optimist Club initially had discussions about holding a rodeo and we immediately decided we wanted to work with the Drayton Kinsmen Club. Our groups were looking for a signature event to begin a long-term project for fundraising for the community,” said marketing co-chair Ron Funnell.
Moorefield’s Optimist Club and Drayton’s Kinsmen are the organizers, and the two groups have worked on several community events together in the past. This one is sure to be a showstopper event its first time out, Funnell added. Wildhorse Productions / A Bar K Rodeo is producing the event.
“They put on quite a show. They do about 10 rodeos in the province. The one that they are doing in Moorefield this weekend is recognized as a New Holland Elite Series Rodeo. What that means is it’s sanctioned, so the participants are qualifying for points through the whole series versus just a contracted rodeo.”
This means the prize money is bigger and the crowds are too, with upwards of 200 competitors today (Saturday) and on Sunday.
“This is the inaugural rodeo and it’s the first of a few that we plan to do,” said Funnell.
On Saturday, the event gets rolling at 11 a.m. with a concert in the evening. Sunday will have visitors enjoying a traditional cowboy breakfast starting at 8 a.m. with events kicking off from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
The cowboys, horses and bulls aren’t the weekend’s only attractions, however. Outside of the rodeo ring families can enjoy two days of the J&L Reptile Rescue educational show. The Kitchener-based organization rescues unwanted reptiles, caring for them and incorporating them into an educational live show.
“It’s quite different from what most people expect when they see a show like that because the attendees will physically handle the reptiles, everything from pythons to lizards and everything in between and most shows don’t allow handling of the reptiles, so that’s a big part of what’s happening on Saturday from noon until 2 p.m.,” Funnel said.
The show runs again on Sunday.
What’s different for this rodeo, he added, is the sanctioned Ontario arm wrestling amateur event following Saturday’s rodeo at 4 p.m.
“It’s wide open for the public to come and participate: it’s not just the professionals there just to put on a show. It’s really geared toward the amateur community, from children to young adults to adults.”
Encouraging such a degree of community involvement is tricky, but Funnell said he feels the event is a good fit.
“There’s no question, I look at this as very similar to a family fall fair: a number of events that are offered are geared towards families,” he said.
Saturday will feature a triple bill of concerts from 7:30 p.m. until after midnight. A children’s show will augment Sunday’s cowboy breakfast. The sanctioned rodeo for both days last for two hours, 2-4 p.m. today and 1-3 p.m. on Sunday. Tickets for the show are available at the event ($20 per person and free for kids under 12).