A new addition to the Orange County Sheriff’s Posse Rodeo for 2016 will feature Whiplash, the world’s smallest cowboy, and his steed, Boogie, a Border Collie. The duo will appear at the Orange County Sheriff’s Posse Rodeo on Friday, April 15, and Saturday, April 16. Courtesy photo

By Tommy Mann Jr. – For The Record

A yearly tradition is back for its annual spring event this weekend.

The Orange County Sheriff’s Posse, along with Bridgefield Electrical Services and Precision Hydrovac Excavation, LLC., present the 2016 Pro Rodeo, which returns for two nights of exciting rodeo action and entertainment at 8 p.m., nightly, Friday, April 15 and Saturday, April 16 at the Orange County Sheriff’s Posse Rodeo Arena, which is located 1106 FM 105, approximately one-half of one mile east of State Highway 62 in Orange. Admission is $10 for adults and $5 for children.

For those who are unfamiliar, the Orange County Sheriff’s Posse Rodeo is arguably one of the best family-friendly events in the region and features events such as bull-riding, junior bull-riding, and team roping, as well as steer wrestling and barrel racing.

In 2015, the Orange County Sheriff’s Posse Rodeo made a change and added two events to help the rodeo grow. Those events, bronc riding and bareback, were added to make the Orange County Sheriff’s Posse Rodeo a sanctioned event.

“Those events haven’t been part of the Orange County Sheriff’s Posse Rodeo in probably 15 years, until they were added last year,” said Chad Havens, rodeo director. “By adding those events back to our rodeo, it has made the Orange County Sheriff’s Posse Rodeo a professional rodeo. That’s a big deal.”

The impact of adding those two events was noticed immediately as the participation level of cowboys and cowgirls dramatically increased in 2015.

“It really did increase our participation level last year and we are on pace to be even bigger this year,” Havens added. “We have over 600 cowboy and cowgirl participants already for this year. Another big reason for the increase in participation is that we added $6,200 in payout, and that’s a huge amount to add.”

There are plenty of children’s events that will make you laugh and put a smile on your face.

Popular children’s events include the Sheep Scramble, which is designed for children ages six and younger and the Calf Scramble, which is for children ages 12 and younger. The lucky children who grab the ribbon tied to the animal win a fabulous prize too. The winner of the lame scramble will get a scooter and the winner of the calf scramble will get a bicycle.

A new addition to the 2016 Pro Rodeo is Whiplash, “the World’s Smallest Cowboy.”

According to a press release, Whiplash is the world’s smallest cowboy at 2 foot, 6 inches tall, and is a 3-time Pro Rodeo Entertainer of the Year, and an international star who has been putting smiles on faces for years.

Whiplash is a Capuchin Monkey who has been riding since he was two-years-old. He travels the country herding wild Barbados sheep at rodeos and other events. His riding ability is unmatched and his herding skills unchallenged. When dressed in his cowboy hat, silk scarf, chaps, and Justin boots, he never misses an opportunity to show his skills and cowboy spirit as he rides his trusty Border Collie mount, Boogie.

Whiplash has entertained crowds at rodeos, ball games, and events all across North America and Europe. He has starred in a series of television advertisements for the fast food chain Taco Johns. He has also appeared on numerous commercials, ESPN, Good Morning America, and the Today Show. The St. Paul Winter Carnival royalty has knighted Whiplash in St. Paul, Minn.

Whiplash’s trainer, Tommy Lucia, purchased him as a baby from the widow of an animal enthusiast in Miami, Florida. As a young monkey, he was introduced to balancing on a saddle, then to the family’s dogs. PRCA member, Kenny Petet of Stephenville, TX, continues the legacy as the new owner of Whiplash the Cowboy Monkey. “He has really become like part of the family, with his big personality and diva-like charm”, said Petet. The rodeo star is not without his own preferences. He loves John Wayne westerns, grapes, OREO’s, and his bed-time peanut butter and jelly sandwich.

“It’s truly an honor to have been asked for participation again this year” said Krissy Reese, director of the 2015 Orange County Sheriff’s Posse Pro Rodeo in a statement. “To take something as old and traditional as rodeo is, and then throw in some flavor that’ll stay in your memory for years to come is exciting.

“A lot of our sponsors have been with the OCSP since before I can remember. Putting on an epic show like this puts their names out there to many people that love our community and shop locally. It should truly be a year-to-remember,” Reese said. “Whether you love the sport of rodeo or just want to laugh until your sides split, we should be able to make you happy.”

All funds generated from the rodeo help the organization to cover the costs of the event itself, but most of the money from the rodeo is used to fund scholarships for local graduating high school students courtesy of the Gus Harris Memorial Scholarship Committee.

“This rodeo is all about the kids, and that’s no different this year,” Havens explained. “This is our only fundraiser of the year, and we use the money to fund scholarships for students from all five high schools in Orange County.”

The Orange County Sheriff’s Posse Rodeo is UPRA, CPRA and LCRA sanctioned and is produced by SYJ Productions.

“We are looking forward to the biggest and best rodeo the Orange County Sheriff’s Posse has ever had,” Havens said. “We set a new attendance record in 2015 and we hope to break that this year. The grounds and arena have never been in better shape too. We added gravel to both sides of the parking areas and packed it down, and it has made a huge difference. We are looking forward to another great weekend.”

For more information on the rodeo and events, visit www.orangecountysheriffsposse.com or call