The annual Efland Ruritan Club Rodeo, hosted by the Efland Ruritan Club, is scheduled to take place on Friday, Sept. 30, and Saturday, Oct. 1, after a two-year hiatus.
Tim Sukow, president of the Efland Ruritan Club, said this is the 27th year the rodeo will take place. He said the rodeo will include the same events as previous years, including bull riding, bronc horse riding and barrel racing.
“It’s a professional rodeo and there are professional contestants in it that work to get points for our national ratings,” said Sukow.
The rodeo starts at 7:30 p.m. and will be held at 3009 Forrest Ave in Efland.
Dana Zoy, a member of the Efland Ruritan Club, said turnout for the rodeo is usually high — around 4,000 to 5,000 people have come each night in past years.
Zoy said the bull riding, horse riding and small pony rides give the event a feel similar to that of a carnival. The rodeo will also have a rodeo clown, who protects riders who were thrown off the bull and also entertains the crowd.
“The rodeo clown is a big hit with the people,” he added. “It’s not just cowboys and horses, it turns out to be a pleasurable family affair.”
The rodeo is also an opportunity to fundraise for the Efland community. Proceeds from the event go to charitable causes, including scholarships for students attending local high schools and financial support for families in need.
“I think it’s around $5,000 worth of scholarships every year, and we reinvest some of our money back into our properties, like fixing up community buildings,” said Anthony Cecil, the vice president of the Efland Ruritan Club.
The rodeo is a part of the club’s larger mission to improve the Efland community and make it a better place to live for town members, according to the club’s website. Sukow said the club is a catalyst for fellowship and work for community development.
He said they support the local sheriff’s department, fund six scholarships to three high schools and provide emergency financial assistance to those in need.
“In the past, we worked for Relay for Life, and we also worked with some of the local churches for fundraisers," he said. "By and large, if we find a need within the community, we do what we can to help resolve the issue.”
Zoy said the club also holds parades throughout the year as a way to bring the community together.
He said he believes the club brings a spotlight to Efland. He also said they rent out facilities and also offer them to different local organizations such as civic groups, police departments and church groups.
Cecil said the rodeo is one of the biggest events hosted by the club and his favorite part about it is seeing people get together for it.
“For me personally, it’s seeing the people,” he said. “The rodeo has become larger than what the Ruritan Club is. It’s now become kind of a community event that the whole area looks forward to.”
However, with the weather forecast predicting severe weather as a result of Tropical Storm Ian, Sukow said there is a chance the rodeo may have to be postponed.
“We don’t want to put anybody in danger, and that includes the animals in the rodeo,” he said. “So if it’s raining and it’s really muddy and slippery out there and the participants would get hurt, we don’t want that to happen.”
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