The 8th annual Sunshine Stampede, presented by the Florida Gay Rodeo Association (FGRA), brings competitive rodeo events back to south Florida after a year’s absence. The events will be held once again at the Bergeron Rodeo Grounds (4271 Davie Rd., Davie) from Friday, April 4 to Sunday, April 6.
Before the weekend’s events start, you can check in at the Sunshine Stampede’s host hotel, the Renaissance Fort Lauderdale-Plantation Hotel (1230 South Pine Island Rd., Plantation). Registration, the welcome pool party, and the closing ceremony will all be held at the Renaissance Hotel this year, so if you choose not to stay here, it would be good to find lodging close by.
One of the pre-weekend events is an FGRA fundraiser, the East Coast premiere of the documentary film “Queens & Cowboys: A Straight Year on the Gay Rodeo.” The screening will start at 7:30 p.m. at the Gateway Classic Theater (1820 Sunrise Blvd., Fort Lauderdale), with doors opening at 6:45. After the movie, there will be a Q&A session with filmmaker Matt Livadary, and then starting at 9:30 there will be a Sunshine Stampede Kickoff Party at Village Pub (2283 Wilton Dr., Wilton Manors). Tickets for the documentary screening can be purchased online at fgra.org/stampede.
Friday kicks off the Sunshine Stampede weekend, and an optional event that may be of interest is a Rodeo School at the Bergeron Rodeo Grounds from 8:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. The Renaissance Hotel hosts a welcome pool party from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m., followed by contestant registration in the Tampa/Miami Room until 9 p.m.
Contestants from all across North America will be competing in various event categories on both Saturday and Sunday between the hours of 9 a.m. and 4 p.m. at the Bergeron Rodeo Grounds. The events are divided into four categories: rough stock events, which include bull riding, steer riding and chute dogging; speed events, like pole bending, flag racing and barrel racing; roping events, such as calf roping on foot, break away roping and team roping; and camp events, such as goat dressing, steer decorating and wild drag racing. There are prizes in both men’s and women’s divisions for first and second place competitors/teams. The wild drag racing team with the best costume on Sunday will win a $300 jackpot. All in all, the FGRA will award $5000 in prize money when all is said and done at the end of the weekend.
On Saturday evening there is a party for competitors and event attendees at Bill’s Filling Station (2209 Wilton Dr., Wilton Manors) from 9 p.m. to closing time. The awards ceremony dinner that closes out the weekend will be held at the Renaissance Hotel’s ballroom at 7 p.m. on Sunday evening.
If you’d like to attend, tickets for the rodeo are on sale now. General admission costs $20 for a one-day ticket and $35 for the full weekend. If you’d like VIP seating, tickets cost $30 for one day and $50 for both days. Tickets can be purchased online at fgra.org/stampede. If you’d like to volunteer your services and help the Sunshine Stampede weekend run smoothly, you can e-mail the FGRA’s volunteer coordinator and inquire at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Hotspots Media Group is a proud presenting sponsor of Sunshine Stampede weekend, alongside Datatrend Technologies Inc., Bud Light, McLaughlin & Associates LLC and the Greater Fort Lauderdale Convention & Visitors Bureau. Other rodeo sponsors include Village Pub, Alibi Wilton Manors, Bill’s Filling Station, GVT Vacations, the Buckle Up in Your Truck campaign, South Florida Gay News, Ramrod, and Swiss Navy.