Memories of Bonifay’s Northwest Florida Championship Rodeo

Published: Monday, October 1, 2012 at 11:38 AM.

One year I dressed my 2 youngest in their best western get-up and put them in the rodeo king and queen contest which was at memorial field. It seems to me that the Miss Bonifay Contest was at the same time, but I can’t be sure about that.. Glen, our youngest became a casualty when a little boy, I think it was Mr. and Mrs. Nathan Carroll’s child, used his six shooter as a black jack and konked him in the head. He went on stage, but wasn’t at his best with a big goose egg. I don’t think the other boy was too happy either after his mom finished with him. At that time, there were not all the categories. Neither did people spend a pile of money on the costumes. Many pf them were homemade. If memory serves me correctly, Joni McFatter was the little Rodeo Queen.

At the performances, the clowns with their silly jokes entertain the crowd. Their daring bull fighting antics provide a necessary function by protecting the cowboys, while keeping the crowd in suspense as the clowns flirt with the snorting, pawing, enraged beasts. Nothing compares, though, with the excitement the people in the west stands experienced one year when one of those creatures jumped the fence into the stands. People parted and gave him room. I think the only casualty was from one person jumping off the back of the bleachers. After that, double reinforced fence have been used.

The funniest sight that I recall from a Bonifay Rodeo was when the long-time Rodeo Chairman(Do I dare call his name?) raced his horse into the arena. The horse came to a sudden stop, but the chairman kept going and pitched headlong into the grass. Fortunately nothing was hurt but his pride.

Through their middle and high school years our two youngest played in the HCHS band and they always played before all performances of the rodeo. That was very much a part of their growing up as it was for hundreds of Holmes County High School Kids. Each would have a favorite memory of the Rodeo. When Kiwanian Paul Bowyer suggested in 1946 that they hold a rodeo as a fund raiser, he had no idea of the impact that suggestion would have on Bonifay throughout the years. It has certainly put us on the map. Even though ranch rodeos and high school rodeos have become popular in recent years, nothing can measure up to Bonifay’Northwest Florida Championship Rodeo. See you at the parade even if I can’t make it to the performances.

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