Ok, so Rodeo and New Jersey don’t usually appear in the same sentence. Unless you know about Pilesgrove, NJ’s Cowtown Rodeo, a South Jersey institution since 1929. Not only is there a weekly rodeo at Cowtown all summer, the Harris family’s Saturday night show lays claim to being “the oldest weekly running rodeo in the USA.”
The season begins on May 23, so I recently scoped out a daytime practice, where wannabe wranglers can get their feet and everything else wet—well, er, dusty. A horse and a few angry bulls didn’t kid around. The longest ride was about 90 seconds—which seemed like an eternity compared with the others. Shouts of “Get Up! Get up!” shocked the fallen dudes back to reality just in time to avoid the animals’ revenge. True to form, it took longer to re-pen the animals than to ride them, but that effort provided some edgy entertainment. A fearless spectator dog even got into the act to show the dudes a thing or two about rounding up the animals.
Looks like an exciting entertainment for a hot summer Saturday night, and a great way to bring those school vocabulary worksheets to life. Probably not the right birthday party for the squeamish child. Prior knowledge tip: How do you say rodeo in sign language? I’ll give you a hint—it’s as easy as twirling a lasso over your head!
The area around the Rodeo stadium allows you to explore your inner cowboy/girl with Cowtown Cowboy Outfitters nearby for your western wear and gear.
Beige Factor 9/10—Though it’s high on the violence scale for human and beast, I’ll be heading back there sometime this summer for an actual show. The sport is not kind. It puts into perspective another NJ passion—road rage. The Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association (PRCA) affirms its commitment to livestock welfare and Cowtown is a member.
Cowtown Rodeo: 180 Harding Highway, Pilesgrove, NJ