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It’s RODEO time again at the Williston Horseman’s arena this week. Come out for the 17th Annual Johnny Hodge Memorial High School Rodeo this Saturday, March 5, at 7 p.m. at the Williston Horseman's Association arena.
High school contestants from all over our great State of Florida will be on hand this weekend participating in boys events such roping, steer wrestling, bareback and saddle bronc riding, and of course the exciting bull riding too! Girls will participate in the barrel racing, pole bending, goat tying and roping events as well.
While it's important to have the desire, drive and determination to be a contender in one's chosen event in high school rodeo, these student athletes must also maintain a high grade point average to be eligible for competition. Just like any other sport, many of these athletes will go on to compete on college rodeo teams ... some will even be recipients of college scholarships. Although Troy, Alabama has the closest college rodeo team, many Florida High School Rodeo alumni have received scholarships from colleges in Alabama, Arkansas, Louisiana, Oklahoma, Tennessee and even Texas! Florida High School Rodeo has also proved to be a stepping stone for several athletes, both men and women, that have been successful in the professional ranks and even qualified for the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo. Two alumni that excelled to this level are Willistonians Ivon Nelson (1997 & 2002 - steer wrestling) and Jared Smith (2009 - bareback riding).
Some of Williston's local high school contestants will also be on hand participating, and are even ranked among the top 20 in the state. Watch for Lizzy Dunn in the breakaway roping and pole bending, Tevin Cameron in the bull riding, and Stevie Norton in the tie down and team roping, as they apply their skills for a shot at the belt buckle being awarded this weekend to the event winners.
Additionally, there will be family entertainment that will surely provide lots of laughs.
The gates open at 5:30 p.m. Saturday. Tickets are $10 at the gate, and $8 in advance, while kids 5 and under are free. Advanced tickets are available at Kloverleaf Tack in Williston, Chiefland Farm Supply, and both RCC’s Western World in Gainesville and Ocala. The Williston Horseman’s Arena is located 1 1/2 miles south of Williston off U.S. Hwy. 41 on Well Built Road.