Why Doesn’t Anyone Talk About Norton’s New England Rodeo?
There's no denying that many SouthCoast towns are steeped in country life. We've got Right to Farm communities all around us, dozens of farms, and plenty of home-grown produce, dairy, and meats in our local markets. We like our country music and our country-bumpkin activities like agriculture fairs and tractor pulls. We’ve been stuck behind the occasional tractor as it crawled along a main roadway, passing yellow horse-crossing signs along the way.
We may not be super country, but we're country enough to perk up at the idea of a rodeo nearby.
Yet we never really hear about the New England Rodeo and it practically happens in our backyard. I guess if you ride horses you know about it, but don’t rodeo athletes deserve crowds of non-horse riding spectators in the stands, too?
The New England Rodeo began in Lancaster, Massachusetts and eventually moved 50 miles south and settled in Norton. If you only know your locations based on concerts, Norton is closer to the SouthCoast than the Xfinity Center by six miles. You can wear your cowboy boots and flannels from one event to the other in less than 10 minutes.
I bet you thought you had to do some deep-south traveling to see bull riding, right? Wrong.
You can watch professional bull riders from all over New England compete each weekend – and yes, there are rodeo clowns that will come out and distract the bulls and keep fallen riders safe. Lest we forget, the little cowboys and cowgirls take the stage before the professionals do in the mini-bull and bronco youth rodeo.
You can see barrel racers and their horses from farms all over New England compete to see who can race their horse around the fixed barrels fastest.
For some fun, old-timey wild west stuff, you can watch the Cowboy Mounted Shooting competition. Riders race horses at top speed using shotguns and single-action revolvers to shoot at balloon targets. This is a newer event for the rodeo and it is probably the most exciting to see as a kid because it's the stuff of story books and movies.
It may not be everyone’s idea of a fun Saturday night, but if you find yourself wanting to experience more of what Bristol County has to offer or immerse yourself in something outside of your comfort zone, you may want to saddle up for this trip.