1st Annual Florida Agriculture & Wildlife Expo PCA Rodeo – Brooksville, FL – January 20-21, 2018
It’s time for the Florida Agriculture and Wildlife Professional Cowboy Association Rodeo at the Brooksville-Tampa Bay Airport (in Brooksville off Runway Drive) Saturday, January 20th at 7:30 pm and Sunday, January 21st at 2:00 pm.
See top cowboys and cowgirls compete in bull riding, barrel racing, and more!
Top rodeo livestock from Bo Campbell Rodeo Productions.
Watch for the boot scramble for the kids.
Advance tickets available at Midway Farm and Ranch, Wagon Wheel Feed, Halo AutoSports
Tickets are $20 per person. 10 years old and under are free!
Jackson, of Clearwater, was fitted head-to-toe in authentic cowboy gear Dec. 18 at Mid-Way Farm & Ranch Supply for the outfit he will don during the 2018 Brooksville Rodeo.
This is the first Brooksville Rodeo in nearly 25 years; it once was a major event for many Hernando residents. It returns to the Brooksville-Tampa Bay Regional Airport on Jan. 20 and 21.
Jackson attend the rodeo as a “dreamer,” supported by the Children’s Dream Fund, a local nonprofit organization that grants dreams for children ages 3 to 18 who have been diagnosed with life-threatening illnesses.
At 12, Jackson is a bone cancer survivor.
He will join rodeo contestants entering the arena on horseback opening day, before the audience settles in to enjoy non-stop rodeo action.
Three years ago, Jackson got the news that changed his life forever.
Twelve days into fourth grade, he was diagnosed with osteosarcoma, a form of bone cancer.
In the summer months before that day, he frequently came home from golf and tennis camp complaining of leg pain. But the pain was dismissed as side effects of a growth spurt.
An X-ray in September 2014 revealed what Jackson’s mother, Caroline Carter, remembered was a “gigantic” tumor in the 9-year-old’s left femur.
The diagnosis left them “dumbfounded,” she said, but the support of doctors, staff and other families helped guide and support them.
“You become very, very close in the pediatric cancer world,” she said. “You become part of a family of other families that are going through the same kind of trauma, and you learn how to support each other through that.”
The experience, she said, has given them a true appreciation for life.
“We’ve had to create new normals,” Caroline Carter said. “We probably laugh a little more than the average family, and we probably let things go a little more than the average family.”
Jackson went through 22 rounds of chemotherapy at Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital in St. Petersburg in about 11 months, Caroline Carter said.
While going through treatment, Jackson would video chat with his teacher to keep up with course work. On days he felt well enough, he’d anchor the morning newscast for his elementary school wearing a skull cap that covered his changing head of hair.
He’s been cancer-free for three and a half years and doesn’t take medication. He still sees a doctor every six months for lung scans to check for cancerous tumors.
Jackson also had a portion of his femur removed and replaced with hardware that allows him to grow.
Once a month, he goes to the hospital to put his leg in a machine that extends and grows it evenly.
Since then, the Children’s Dream Fund has fulfilled Jackson’s dreams.
The Fund partnered with the hosts of the rodeo, Florida Agriculture & Wildlife Expo and the Professional Cowboys Association, this year to fulfill a new dream of Jackson’s: to attend to a rodeo.
At Mid-Way, Jackson eyed himself in the mirror after his outfit was complete.
“I feel way taller than usual,” he said. “I wear high tops, but it’s not like this.”
Valerie Ansell, a volunteer with the rodeo, helped Jackson adjust his first-ever pair of cowboy boots. Ansell coordinates partnerships for the committee that put together the rodeo.
In June 2016, a group of Brooksville volunteers decided to revive the rodeo, which was a 30-year staple in Hernando County before its last go-round in 1994.
This year the rodeo is being produced by Bo Campbell Rodeo Productions. It will be Jackson’s first time in a long time riding a horse.
“It’s going to feel a little strange,” Ansell said to Jackson. “These are real cowboy boots.”
-By TyLisa C. Johnson Times Staff Writer
The Professional Cowboy Association is a non-profit association (501c3) established to promote the sport of rodeo and as the Southeastern leader in professional rodeo. The largest such association east of the Mississippi River, the PCA is committed to maintaining the highest standards in the industry. Our commitment makes sure that every PCA event is managed with fairness and equality for all contestants, and that the livestock used in each production is healthy and cared for to the highest standards possible.