Boys Ranch Rodeo:
The Challenge is the Challenge of Life
Since 1945, Boys Ranch has produced an annual rodeo, inviting friends and guests to help celebrate the accomplishments of boys and girls and their horses.
In the 1940s, almost every child knew how to ride a horse, and they were at least familiar with the rodeo events. Today, children come to Boys Ranch from across the United States, and many have never seen a horse until they arrive. It’s not easy to interact with a 1,200-pound animal for the first time or to try a new sport.
Successful rodeo athletes share these characteristics with successful athletes in other disciplines as well as successful adults: perseverance, sportsmanship and courage.
Boys Ranch sees the annual rodeo as a way for children to experience these attributes they will need in life while they participate in a traditional western activity. The boys and girls spend hours each summer working with their horses while preparing for the rodeo.
History of the Rodeo
Since 1947, thousands of people have joined us for our Labor Day Weekend Rodeo, a tradition that is part family reunion and part traditional western competition. About 100 people attended that first rodeo. Those 100 people spread the word and attendance soared.
No matter the obstacles encountered, the rodeo takes place every year.
Boys Ranch Traditions
Boys Ranch alumni began attending the rodeo each year to reconnect with their old roommates and friends. Today, many alumni have organized celebratory activities on Labor Day weekend to coincide with the rodeo, including picnics and golf tournaments.
The rodeo includes some solemn moments, such as the leading of the riderless horse to commemorate the loss of staff and alumni during the previous year.
Each year, two riders on horseback run the U.S. and Texas flags in a ceremony known as the Flying of the Colors.
In recent years, a clown troupe has been added to the program. Children and staff members dress as clowns to perform skits and help during roughstock events.
Rodeos and gymkhanas include many different events. Boys Ranch has chosen these events as challenging but not life-threatening. Many events are divided into junior and senior age groups. Boys Ranch has also modified some events to fit the Boys Ranch rodeo format and provide for better educational experiences.