Hudson Valley Rodeo draws fan, riders and family from across the country
AMENIA — With the smell of barbecue rising through the air, people boasting belt buckles, boots and cowboy hats enjoyed music, food and the spectacle of the second annual Hudson Valley Rodeo on Saturday, Sept. 17, at Keane Farm in Amenia.
Hosted by the Amenia Wassaic Community Organization, a philanthropic foundation created by Silo Ridge that funds programs like the local Little Leagues and summer camps, the Hudson Valley Rodeo was an all-day festival that celebratesd equestrian sports. Funds raised from the charity event go right back to the organization to serve the community.
The festivities started at noon, with family-friendly events to welcome the public. Children dressed in cowboy boots and hats were taught how to toss lassos and raced stick horses. Meanwhile, their parents enjoyed cold beer, a variety of hot food from concession stands and live music from Jennie Angel and Jessica Lynn.
After everyone had arrived and settled in, spectators began to find their seats around the ring. At 3 p.m., the main event began, starting with a “mutton bustin’” competition, where children clung on to sheep for as long as they could, as the animals dashed, jumped and bucked.
After the children competed, the adults stepped in. Riders from New York and from across the country showed off their skills in events like bronco bustin’, barrel racing, calf roping and bull riding. During each buck and turn of the competition, hooves sent dust flying into the air, which was met with shouts, applause and “yeehaws” from the surrounding crowd.
“Last year was our first,” said Chair of the Dutchess County Legislature Gregg Pulver (R-19), who addressed the crowd from inside the ring before the rodeo began. “But we expect to be here for the next 10, 20, 30 years.”
At around 6:30 p.m., the concert field opened and people began to filter toward the stage, setting up lawn chairs as they talked about the highlights of the rodeo. The culmination and finale of the event was an 8:30 p.m. outdoor concert by award-winning country-pop artist Brett Young.