Competitive riders will be saddling up – or packing up their saddles, at least – and heading to the Breslau area Friday for the Woolwich Ultimate Rodeo.
The event is the first of five in the Case IH Ultimate Rodeo Tour, with some 120 competitors expected to take part in a variety of activities, including bareback riding, saddle bronc riding, barrel racing, bull riding and pole bending. There’ll be $20,000 in prize money up for grabs.
“This is the kick-off to the series this year,” said organizer Ross Millar.
Along with the RAM Rodeo Tour, this string of events makes up the most competitive field in Ontario, he notes, adding there’s more than $300,000 in prize money available between the pair of tours.
The top competitors do the circuit, along with rodeos across eastern North America during the summer months, said Millar.
“This tour has the most money. The serious ones hit them all.”
Competitors are drawn from the likes of Michigan, Ohio, Illinois, Quebec and Ontario.
The Ontario tours include 15 stops this year, culminating with the Newmarket RAM Rodeo Championships in October.
“There’s $70,000 in prizes for that one alone,” said Millar.
Before that time, riders will be mounting up in locations ranging from Chatham to Peterborough as the summer rolls along.
The number of top riders taking part always makes the Woolwich stop a popular one with spectators, he added.
“It’s always packed,” he said of the event’s crowds. “There’s such a variety of activities – there’s something for everyone in the family, for every age.”
Along with the competition, there will be demonstrations of precision riding by the Canadian Cowgirls Rodeo Drill Team.
As with past years, proceeds from the event will go to the Canadian Diabetes Association to help support research, education, service and advocacy.
Activities get underway at 6:30 p.m. – gates open at 5 p.m. – July 5 at the Calhoun Stables, 1590 Durant Rd. in Breslau, about halfway between Maryhill and Bloomingdale. More information is available online at www.ultimaterodeotour.com.