Cowboys and cowgirls in their finest rodeo duds, riding atop their well groomed steeds, along with western themed floats and marching bands, will parade along Homestead's historic downtown at 11 a.m. on Saturday morning to officially kick off the 65th annual Homestead Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association rodeo competitions, affectionately dubbed the "Southernmost Rodeo."
For the entire weekend, spectators can watch cowboys practicing their three R's -- riding, roping, and racing -- at Harris Field's Doc DeMilly Rodeo Arena, located on U.S. 1 at the intersection of Campbell Drive in Homestead.
"This year's rodeo will be like no other," said one rodeo organizer, Don Coppollo, speaking on behalf of the organizing committee. "There is more prize money to be won, and we expect more contestants from the professional circuit than ever before."
"Everyone loves the bull riding, and this year's saddle bronc riding will feature some of the top guys in the world," said Jim Bauman, president of the Homestead Rodeo Association. "The bareback riding event will also include several top competitors."
Contestants will also compete in barrel racing and bull roping events.
Professional rodeo circuit stars like Cody Teel and J.W. Harris will be on hand to defend their first- and second-place title wins at bull riding in the 2013 National championships.
Announcer Wayne Brooks, three-time winner of "professional rodeo announcer of the year," will call the shots to the audience as he circles the arena on his horse, microphone in hand.
"This is the only rodeo event where the announcer is right out there, on horseback, interacting with the crowd," said Bauman.
"The bucking bronco event is the best, and they are supposed to have more of them this year," said Redland farmer and annual rodeo attendee Carolyne Sward. "It can be pretty exciting, and I always root for the horse."
When the pros are not on the field in the competitive events, the crowd will be well entertained by the likes of the Homestead Everglades Posse, a non profit precision mounted drill team around since 1951. They will perform their synchronized horseback drill patterns on all three days.
The U.S. Army Golden Knights precision parachute team is scheduled to appear out of the sky and land right on target in the center of the arena on Saturday and Sunday.
The antics of nationally known rodeo clown Slim Garner, and bands playing live music, will entertain the crowd between competition rounds. Local food venders, serving a variety of cuisines, will be on the grounds to keep the refreshments flowing throughout the weekend.
Local non profit organizations will be selling wares to benefit their charities.
The winner of the 2014 Miss Teen Florida Rodeo pageant, McKenna Andris, will ride into the arena. She is a local girl who grew up riding with the Homestead Everglades Posse, and this is the first time in the pageant history that the winner was from this area.
Tonight, from 8 to 10 p.m., an event to raise funds for breast cancer research will feature Slim Garner, the Homestead Everglades Posse precision mounted drill team, and some Junior barrel Racing events.
On Saturday, rodeo competition in all events will begin at 2 p.m. and run well into the evening. The lineup of events will be determined on that day by the livestock provider.
On Sunday, the final day of the rodeo, competitions begin at 2 p.m., and once again the lineup will be determined by the livestock provider on that day. Sunday's performance will be a salute to the men and women of the Armed Forces.
Tickets for the 65th annual Homestead rodeo cost $20 for adults and $5 for kids, per day, and are on sale at the arena gate or online at: www.homesteadrodeo.com/tickets.