Hundreds of people packed into the Huntingdon County Fairgrounds for the 12th annual Central PA Rodeo. It’s the largest rodeo between Pittsburgh and Harrisburg, and they say it’s the toughest competition around.
Dave Hazlet, one of the rodeo judges, said, “You’re going to get to witness the roughest…Bull-riding is inherently the most dangerous sport in the whole world. You crawl on the back of 2,000 pounds of mean, mad bull.”
From bull-riding to a cattle chase, you can see it all at the annual rodeo in Huntingdon County.
Bernadette Gilliland, a volunteer at the rodeo, said,” I grew up on the farm, I think it’s a great opportunity to watch the cowboys and cowgirls work with their animals. It takes a lot of dedication and a lot of talent, but it’s also a tradition, it’s a piece of Americana.”
Take it from the cowboys and cowgirls who know: it takes a lot of strength to get out in front of hundreds of people and wrestle a bull. Daylon Swearingen, who is the national high school rodeo champion, said, “Well the bull’s in the shoot, and then you climb on, and you have a bull rope and you put your hand in the bull rope, and you nod your head and you try and ride it for eight seconds.” He is one of 25 rough stock riders competing this weekend.
Cowboys and cowgirls come from all over the country to participate. But rodeo organizers say their numbers are decreasing.
“Participants or contestants for rough stock has been dwindling over the last 10-15 years, that’s the way it is, and we’re trying to get it to come back,” said Hazlet. That’s why they’re excited to see so many people at the Huntingdon rodeo.
Rebecca Davidson, Media Chair for the Rodeo, said, “People actually travel from a good distance to come here which is great, but it’s just a great family event.” The rodeo benefits St. Matthew Catholic School in Tyrone.
The rodeo continues all weekend long at the Huntingdon County Fairgrounds.