Rodeo action in The Natural State

Rodeo action in The Natural State excites crowds with everything from saddle bronc riding, breakaway roping, goat tying, steer wrestling and calf roping to team roping, barrel racing, cutting, bull riding, bareback riding and pole bending.

Talented athletes take part in a number of events, ranging from open horse shows in Quitman to the Old Fort Days Futurity in Fort Smith to bull riding in Ash Flat and scheduled clinics around the state. Arkansas cowgirl rodeo royalty hold court over rodeos and parades. And, of course, a rodeo wouldn't be a rodeo without the always-entertaining clowns who run around the arena.

From high school to amateur to pro rodeo events, wranglers, ropers and rodeo fans will find plenty of thrills and spills events on the schedule from which to choose.

Springdale's foremost event for70 years, the annual Rodeo of the Ozarks, celebrates our nation's birthday each year in early July while giving audiences the opportunity to experience part of our country's heritage through professional rodeo. More than 500 contestants and professional athletes enter to compete in a total of seven Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association (PRCA) and Women's Professional Rodeo Association (WPRA) sanctioned events — tie down roping, steer wrestling, barrel racing, bareback riding, saddle bronc riding, team roping, and the ever-popular bull riding. Fireworks take place after each performance and parades fill downtown Emma Street before each night of the rodeo.

For 80 years, the annual Old Fort Days Rodeo in Fort Smith, AR has been entertaining rodeo enthusiasts with talented cowboys, high prize money and quality rodeo livestock. The fast paced action includes calf roping, barrel racing, wild horse racing, bareback riding, steer wrestling, saddle bronc riding, the Old Fort Days Dandies, and bull riding. It is held at Kay Rodgers Park, which is also the site of the Arkansas Oklahoma State Fair, Old Fort Days Futurity and the Hangin' Judge Border Feud High School Rodeo.

Each summer, Conway is home to the annual Central Arkansas PRCA Rodeo, as well numerous other events throughout the year with the ATRA and the Arkansas High School Rodeo.

For more than 50 years, Calico Rock has held an annual rodeo and parade. Huntsville offers a Western Round Up Dance of live music, toe tappin', knee slappin' fun in preparation for its IPRA Rodeo, which has been an annual event for more than a decade. With participants from around the country, events include mutton bustin', a grand entry, and more. A rodeo parade is comprised of local riding clubs, quadrille groups and the Rodeo Queen and her court.

The Flying L Rodeo Company in Mount Vernon has been keeping the rodeo tradition alive for over 58 years.

Arkansas State Fair

Rodeos, livestock shows and horse shows are ubiquitous to southern county fairs. Youngsters can compete in events such as calf scrambles, wild cow milking, and mutton bustin'. The largest such event in the state, the Arkansas State Fair is held each October and is a great way to usher in the autumn season. Tons of activities for all age groups, including a carnival midway, livestock competition, cook-offs, all kinds of "fair" food plus top cowboys and cowgirls competing for prizes highlight this annual event.

Rodeo venues include Verizon Arena in North Little Rock, Parsons Stadium in Springdale, Kay Rodgers Park in Fort Smith, Barton Coliseum in Little Rock, and other smaller locales — check schedules to find the dates and times of upcoming rodeo events at a location near you.

Arkansas is teeming with organizations with a unique love for all aspects of the sport. If you are looking to buy, sell, or trade equipment from bridles to horse trailers, these associations can help with that too.