The 3rd Annual Hudson Valley Rodeo returned to Keane Stud in Amenia, NY on Saturday, September 16. The event, which is a fundraiser for the Amenia-Wassaic Community Organization (AWCO) and its programs and is powered by the Silo Ridge Community Foundation (SRCF), was sold out with approximately 5,000 people in attendance between the rodeo and the concert, featuring country music star Walker Hayes.
Gates for the Hudson Valley Rodeo opened at 12 p.m. with a variety of local food trucks and vendors. Food truck offerings included the BBQ Crew based out of Wappingers Falls, NY, The Cluck Truck, based out of Hopewell Junction, NY, and Four Brothers, which has locations all over the Hudson Valley.
Prior to the rodeo, some kid-friendly activities included rodeo clowns, stick horse rodeo competitions, barrel racing demonstrations, a rodeo roping clinic, face-painting, meet-and-greets with the cowboys and cowgirls, and music from local artists.
Additionally, many locals volunteered their time to help throughout the day with the pre-rodeo activities, to help accompany guests with ADA or health concerns, worked at the information table, and more.
“We are so grateful to those that showed up and went above and beyond to see the success of the event,” said Danielle Mollica, SRCF’s executive director.
The rodeo itself started at 3 p.m. with mutton bustin’, which is an event for children ages 4-7 in which they ride sheep. Whoever stays on the sheep the longest wins!
Following this, the bronc riding started, with cowboys coming from all over the country. Participants included Remington Canfield of Ogallala, NE, Taylor Merrill of Blackfoot, ID, Dalen White Dress of Pine Ridge, SD, Wyatt Duncan of Blue Rock, WY, Wes Aragon of LaGrange, WY, and Jaylen Joaquin of Tucson, AZ.
In bronc riding, competitors have to ride for eight seconds with one hand on the reins and their free hand must not touch anything. The higher the horse bucks, the higher the score for the horse, and the longer the cowboy stays on and controls the horse, the higher the score for the cowboy.
The bronc riding took place all afternoon but was interspersed with other events, one of which was barrel racing. Most of the barrel racing participants were local cowgirls from the Tri-state area. For horse barrel racing, three barrels are set up in a triangular pattern and the rider must ride around each one. Whoever runs around all three barrels in the lowest amount of time wins. If a rider knocks down a barrel, there is a five-second penalty added to their time, but if a rider just touches a barrel but does not knock it over, there is no penalty.
Roping was another event that took place. Breakaway roping is primarily a women’s event in which the cowgirls must rope a calf around the neck, after which they let go of the rope and stop their horse. For team roping, there are two riders, the first of which is the “header” that ropes the steer by the horns, and the second is the “heeler,” who ropes the steer by its hind feet. Like many of the other events, whichever team executes this the quickest wins.
Finally, the last event was the highly anticipated bull riding. In order for a rider to qualify, they must stay on the bull for eight seconds. Each ride is scored out of 100 points, with the bull being scored out of 50 based on criteria such as how hard the ride is and how much power and speed the bull has. The rider is then also scored out of 50 points based on criteria such as how much control they exhibit during the ride. The scores for the bull and the rider are then added together.
Throughout the day, local musicians The Differents with Todd Mihan and Nik Rael played on the second stage, providing entertainment for guests to enjoy. Later on, the concert started at 7 p.m. with Jordan Stoner and the Crash Test Silverados as the opener. Originally from Stanfordville, NY, Jordan Stoner is a country recording artist that has performed at venues all across the country. The main act was country star Walker Hayes, who is perhaps best known by his song “Fancy Like,” which was released in 2021 and went viral on TikTok.
Danielle said that Walker Hayes exemplifies the community values perfectly and was a great fit for the Hudson Valley Rodeo. “What we love about Walker is that he’s so family-oriented, has such a beautiful belief in spirituality, and really has the gift of bringing people together,” Danielle said.
Walker sang some of his hits from his new album, including “AA” and “U Gurl,” and some from his older work.
The inspiration for the rodeo event was born out of SRCF Board Members Pedro and Juan Torres, and their continued care for the community and desire to bridge the Silo Ridge members with the local community. The rodeo was “the perfect way to get everyone interconnected and involved on a deeper level.”
Danielle said that the board of the SRCF and AWCO chose to execute the rodeo and concert of such caliber here in the Hudson Valley because it’s a “fun, family friendly, diverse, and exciting event.”
She said that the true goal with the rodeo is to bring the community together. “So many people throughout the Hudson Valley and beyond come together for the rodeo. It’s such a great event and to watch it come together is truly humbling.”
Danielle is coming up on one year as the executive director for the Silo Ridge Community Foundation and said that her favorite part of her work is being able to give back. “I love working with the people of our local community and the local community organizations. This is my passion, it truly bridges the gap for me, doing what I love while also benefiting the community. I am blessed beyond measure to be in this line of work.”
Of course, the rodeo wouldn’t be possible without the local sponsors. “This year, we saw a notable increase in local sponsorship due to the success of the previous events,” said Danielle. “We are thankful for their support.” The full list of sponsors is available on the Hudson Valley Rodeo’s website.
Just in case that wasn’t enough to convince you to attend the Hudson Valley Rodeo next year, I asked Danielle what one thing is that she would tell someone who has never been: “The rodeo is intended to bring the community together, and it’s all about family and love. It’s an opportunity to have a fun-filled, stress free day, so come enjoy yourself. It’s simply a way of us being together while giving back to our beautiful community.”
The Silo Ridge Community Foundation is a 501(c)(3) registered nonprofit organization that is dedicated to aiding other local nonprofit organizations in the Amenia-Wassaic area. SRCF provides funding through its grant program to organizations that promote community services, arts and education, health and wellness, and conservation efforts, among others.
The Amenia-Wassaic Community Organization works to provide resources to support the work of other nonprofit community organizations, community partners, and initiatives to create “healthier, happier, more connected lifestyles for all Amenia-Wassaic residents.” They work with other location organizations to establish and support parks, trails, public spaces, and community programs.
To learn more about Silo Ridge Community Foundation, visit their website at https://siloridgefoundation.org/.
To learn more about the Amenia-Wassaic Community Organization, visit their website at https://ameniawassaic.org/.
To learn more about the Hudson Valley Rodeo, visit their website at https://hudsonvalleyrodeo.com/.