BONIFAY — Festivities for the 2012 Northwest Florida Championship Rodeo begin Thursday in Bonifay.

BONIFAY — Festivities for the 2012 Northwest Florida Championship Rodeo begin Thursday in Bonifay.

“We’re really looking forward to this year’s rodeo,” said Bonifay Kiwanis President Bill Bullington. “It is our 58th and I hate to say it but I was there at the first one. It’s been a long road we’ve been down since it first came along.”

Bullington explained that the rodeo was a part of what made the community of Holmes County.

“It’s a big deal to this town,” he said. “You little guys don’t know it, but when I was growing up as a kid, only second to Christmas Eve was the excitement of the Rodeo coming to town was the excitement of that event.”

The Rodeo will be held Thursday, Friday and Saturday at Memorial Field in Bonifay, with the gates opening at 5:30 p.m. and the PRCA performances beginning at 7:30 p.m . The Ram Rodeo Series is sponsored by Bob Pforte Motors.

To show how well the rodeo fit into the social norm, Bullington informed everyone that he had a horse before he had a bicycle.

“I was riding in the parade at four and five years old on horseback,” he said. “Rodeo has been a big part of this community for a long time and we hope it grows.”

He said there were many new “unique” aspects coming to rodeo weekend, like the National Guard, a climbing wall and some great acts coming.

Thursday night will be Kids Night, sponsored by Royal American Construction & Peoples First Insurance. All children under 10 get in free with a paid adult.

Friday night is the Tough Enough to Wear Pink Night, sponsored by One South Bank. The event promotes awareness of breast cancer, with riders wearing pink in support of the American Cancer Society.

Saturday morning the 8th annual Bonifay Fire and Rescue Pancake Breakfast will be held at 7 a.m. at the fire department, and Saturday night is the Ram Rodeo and Military Appreciation Night.

The Rodeo Parade, sponsored by Verizon Wireless, will be held at 1 p.m. on Friday and Saturday, in Downtown Bonifay.

The Northwest Florida Championship Rodeo Parade goes hand- in- hand with the Rodeo events. Thousands of spectators flood the streets of Bonifay on Friday and Saturday afternoon to view floats, queens, dignitaries, bands, ATV’s, wagon trains and hundreds of horses. The parade starts at the north end of Bonifay. All entries line-up at the Elementary School and winds around to Highway 79 in front of the Piggy Wiggly and travels south on Highway 79, turns right on Veterans Boulevard and ends in front of Memorial Field (rodeo arena). We are looking forward to a great year of fun filled activities.

On Saturday the floats entered are judged in categories of: queen/king pageant; sports school civic, club/nonprofit; religious church spiritual; business organization political. Each category will pay $200 for first prize. If a division has 10 or more entries the second place will be awarded at $150 prize.

 “We’ve got another association coming with a whole new set of bull riders, so we’ll not only have the PRCA riding, we’ll have the Southern State Bull Riding,” said Bullington. “We’re going to have a lot of bull riding this year. I hope to see you Thursday, Friday and Saturday.”