By Norman B. Tamar
MASBATE CITY --- Officials behind the annual rodeo festival in this city have bared details of the event scheduled from March 23 to April 23, as they expect an increase in the number of visitors, especially during the grand rodeo finals on April 18-22, when more exciting events and bigger prizes await participants.
O.R. Espares, a member of the Rodeo Masbateño Inc. (RMI), which oversees the conduct of the festival, said 30 teams coming from Benguet, Ilocos Region, the Visayas and mainland Bicol are expected to join the rodeo finals.
He said the grand rodeo finals will include bull whipping, load carrying relay, cattle wrestling on foot, cattle wrestling from horseback, cattle lassoing from horseback, carambola that usually involves two to four persons capturing a bull with bare hands, casting down and bull riding.
“The other rodeo highlights are cattle drive or ‘pasuag,’ cattle horse penning and street dancing,” said Espares.
RMI President Judge Manuel L. Sese said a herd of 150 heads of cow, which will be let loose during the cattle drive at the main street of the city, will be driven by cowboys to the arena.
He said after the drive called “Wigo de Toro,” the most exciting and risky part of the event will follow in which several heads of wild junior and senior bulls will be released at main thoroughfares in the city with participants required to register to be able to join the race.
Sese said the heads of cattle, which cost from P35,000 to P40,000 each, will be given by the provincial government to those who could catch them. “They can take the cattle home.”
Gov. Antonio T. Kho initiated more interesting rodeo events this year by increasing the prizes and adding gears to the event.
He said bulls should only be caught or wrestled but not slaughtered.
“A certificate of registration for each of the cattle will automatically be transferred to the lucky players,” said Kho.
Sese thanked the governor for increasing the prizes as he acknowledged the P3M donation of the Masbate provincial government while the Masbate City government and Filminera Resources Corp. gave cash donations of P300,000 each and DMCI P200,000.
RMI member Socci Tuason said there will be carnival rides for the month-long festivities.
“There will be other entertaining activities such as the rodeo saloon or beer plaza, Palabas sa Social Center, garden show, façade dress-up contest, final judging, beef cooking and the awarding and farewell party,” she said.
Tuason said there will be a grand horse parade during the opening program of the rodeo finals on April 18-22.
“Every night during the rodeo finals there will be a governor’s welcome night, city mayor’s night, Filminera’s night, search for Miss Rodeo Cowgay 2017, festival of festivals and the search for Miss Rodeo 2017 which will be capped with a grand fireworks display,” she said.
Tuason acknowledged the support being given by the Rodeo Net, Rotary Club, Red Cross and other partners to make the festival successful.
Judge Igmedio Camposano, another RMI member, said they have announced details of the event this early so visitors could prepare their schedules, bookings and reservations for the festival.