Once we found a parking spot, we joined the crowd of cowboy clad men, women, and children, as they climbed the stairs at the entrance to Bon Secourse Arena. Couples wore his and her embellished buckles with matching cowboy hats. Groups of girlfriends snapped photos highlighting their boots adorned with sequins, jewels, and presented in every color imaginable. The most adorable toddler strolled by in a purple denim outfit accessorized with a pink cowgirl hat and matching pink cowgirl boots. The Black Rodeo was appearing for the first time in Greenville, SC, and the crowd was excited and ready to be wowed!
The corridor in the arena offered photography services with western themed backgrounds, vendors selling western themed apparel, fanware with the “Black Rodeo” logo, and concessions of every variety. Once we made it through security, our seats were easy to locate. We were greeted by excited chatter as the crowd looked towards the center of the arena.
The center of the arena was covered in several thousand cubic feet of sand. Steers, calves, and horses were contained in pens on both ends of the stadium. Cowboys and cowgirls groomed and caressed their horses as the excitement built. At 7:30 pm, a gate opened and the most gorgeous paint gelding flung his hind legs and whipped his blond mane as he bucked in an effort to get the man off who rode him barebacked. The man flopped around like a rag doll as the gelding arched his back and took powerful jumps. The man fell off and quickly rolled, safely away from the gelding’s hooves that appeared to be suspended in mid-air before landing in full force in the spot the man had just evacuated milliseconds before.
The gelding proceeded to take a triumphant gallop around the arena with his back still arched in defiance, as the crowd went wild! Several skilled bronc bareback riders followed that offered equal parts amusement and awe.
The Black Rodeo caters to an African-American demographic, but many of the cowboys, cowgirls, and the crowd represented all races. This event highlighted the American cultural landscape. Riders came from as far away as Oklahoma to participate in the rodeo events. Some demonstrations offered cash prizes. Calf roping, an intermission with a local comedian, silver tape competition, and youth arena contest, were the events I saw. This was my first and last rodeo, simply based on my personal interest. I do recommend anyone who is curious to attend a rodeo event at least once. Your local fair may be a more economical option. Tickets for this event start at $26.50.
If you are looking for a one-of-a-kind experience… Head to the rodeo!