Church rodeo offers family-friendly fun this weekend
Last updated 4/11/2023 at 7:36pm
Cowboy Church of Orange County is hosting a professional rodeo this weekend that will offer family-friendly fun and entertainment.
People will be able to watch competitors from all across the country compete in a variety of categories including bull riding, barrel racing, steer wrestling, bareback bronco riding, and saddle bronco riding. Some local competitors, like barrel racer Abi Champagne, will also be participating.
The rodeo will be at the T2 (Tin Top) Arena at 3810 Old Peveto Road off FM 1078 outside of Orange. The rodeo will begin at 7:30 p.m. on Friday, April 14, and Saturday, April 15. The arena is covered so events can be held in inclement weather. Admission is $10 for adults and teens, $5 for kids ages 5 through 12. Children age 4 and younger will get in free.
Besides the rodeo competitions, children will have some activities with bicycles being awarded for prizes in the mutton busting for ages 6 and younger, the sheep scramble for ages 6 and younger, and the calf scramble for ages 12 and younger. A $20 fee is required for the mutton busting, but the sheep and calf scrambles are free.
Barrel riding entry is $20 for the Pee Wee division for ages 9 and younger, $30 for the Junior Division ages 15 and younger, and $50 for the open barrel competition.
A raffle will be held with the prize a .44 magnum Henry Arms lever-activated rifle.
The church is making sure the event is not only family-friendly, but also family-affordable. Bryant Champagne is in charge of overseeing homemade concession stand food for reasonable prices. A children's table will be set up with free crayons so the kids can make art from the coloring pages included in the rodeo program.
A "selfie spot" will be set up so attendees can do photo shots posing as a bull rider or barrel racer. T-shirts will also be on sale to commemorate the event.
Shane Young is providing the professional stock for the rodeo events. Veteran rodeo announcer Jay Bergeron will be calling the competition events.
Cowboy Church of Orange County is a Christian group started in 2007 to minister to people with a "come-as-you-are" congregation using a ministry focusing on the "Western heritage" in the United States. It has been one of the fastest-growing congregations in Orange County.
People who have ranches and livestock can take care of their animals on a Sunday morning and not have to worry about changing into dress clothes to go to church services. Recently, a member was late for Sunday service because she had to repair a fence to protect a yearling colt.
A saddle mounted on a wooden stand serves as the pulpit in the church. A galvanized trough serves for baptisms with an old-fashioned red-handled pump to fill it. The Cowboy Cross Band provides the music for services and will include old standards like "I'll Fly Away."
The church is at 673 FM 1078 and the grounds include an open rodeo arena for practice and church functions. CCOC will be adding a garden to the acreage.
The congregation now likes to go by "CCOC," according to church spokeswoman Sherri Porterfield, because the ministry has been expanded to other activities. The church added a fishing ministry, a golf ministry, and a motorcycle ministry.
Pastor Harland Strother leads the congregation and has added an online outdoors video sermons called "From the Deer Stand" to accommodate hunters.
The rodeo is supported by a grant from the Orange County Hotel Motel Occupancy Tax issued through the county's Economic Development Corporation. In addition, Team Granger will be sponsoring the rodeo and will have Chevrolet and Dodge barrel-racing trucks there, along with an RV display.