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So, this is your first rodeo?

Posted on Wednesday, February 15, 2017 at 6:00 am

By Peter Covino
A&E Editor
So what if this really is your first time at the rodeo?
Well, don’t be intimidated. The Silver Spurs Rodeo has been around for a

File Photo
Bull riding has always been a popular attraction at the Silver Spurs Rodeo.

long time, since 1941 to be exact, when a bunch of local ranchers got together to form the Silver Spurs Riding Club.
And that tradition continues at Osceola Heritage Park, Feb. 17-19, with the 138th edition of the rodeo.
The Silver Spurs Rodeo is the largest rodeo east of the Mississippi.
While “The Greatest Show on Earth” – the Ringling Brothers Barnum and Bailey Circus recently announced its closing – the greatest show in Osceola County continues with nearly three hours of bull riding, barrel racing, steer wrestling, tie-down roping, saddle bronc riding, team roping and more.
And yes, send in the clowns. What is a rodeo without rodeo clowns entertaining, and helping the cowboys keep out of harms way with some angry bulls?
Actually, the clowns, with their painted faces, double as bullfighters, who try to distract the bulls from the cowboys after a ride.
While speaking rodeo is not like learning French or Italian, it does have its own vocabulary. Here are a few words that you might encounter that you should know to help make your first rodeo a success:
Chaps — No, not some guys from the U.K. who are rodeo fans, but it’s that piece of leather that protects a cowboy’s legs during a ride.
Tipping a barrel — You might expect to find those same happy UK lads doing this at a pub, but in rodeo-speak, it is a term in barrel racing. Riders must go around three barrels, if they hit or tip the barrel, and stop the barrel from falling over, they will avoid a 5-point penalty.
Flank Strap — Not a tough cut of meat at Steak World, but a soft sheepskin strap that encourages the animal to kick out behind itself rather than rear up, providing a safer, showier ride.
Cowboy nod — It’s not a cowboy taking a nap between events, but rather what he does when he indicates to the judge to start the clock and/or open the chute gate.
So now you know a few rodeo words.
Remember, rodeo is also a regal event. The Rodeo queens always make an appearance, doing their part to promote and educate the public about rodeo.
And don’t forget the rodeo food. This is beef country and the concession stands at Osceola Heritage Park will be serving up some good burgers, freshly grilled by real cattlemen.
Lastly, bring that camera and an autograph book.