(BLOOMINGDALE) The largest working farm in Chatham County is readying for one of it’s biggest events. Ottawa Farms is getting ready to set the stage for their second annual rodeo. Ottawa Farms first began operations in 1873. The work today is focused on building bleachers for this weekend’s event. The farm has been just outside Bloomingdale since 1873. Today it’s 900 acres is an Agri-tourism enterprise and the current owner, Pete Waller, says it’s the last working farm in Chatham County. While points towards a national rodeo championship will be on the line, Waller says farm heritage will be on display. The 2nd Annual Ottawa Farms Rodeo is affiliated with the International Professional Rodeo Association. ” This is circuit rodeo. It’s a professional rodeo and these folks come in here to compete to go on to the nationals. We have people come in from Canada, Texas, Arkansas,” said Waller.
People flocked to Bloomingdale to see the inaugural rodeo last year. Waller says more than 10,000 people visited Ottawa Farms for their first rodeo and he’s hoping for larger crowds this year. ” When we decided to bring a rodeo here, it’s part of farm life. We are all about family,” Waller said. Waller says bringing the rodeo to his farm is not just marketing, there is a real, natural connection between the farm and a rodeo because a lot of the skills on display by cowboys are abilities needed to run real farms and ranches throughout American history. Waller points to the event called Bulldogging, where a pair of cowboys work to immobilize a calf. “They had two cowboys. One catch his head and one catch his feet and at that time the calf would lay down and the man doing the branding could brand him real easy and turn ’em right aloose. It’s a real event…but there’s no such thing as branding today. We ear tag ’em today,” said Waller.
Visitors can see the modern example of branded cattle and more over the two days of the rodeo. They boast a has a wide variety of crops.Those who head out to Ottawa will get an up close and personal look at farming. Waller says their the rodeo has a charitable side, as part of the gate here is corralled to to help sick children. ” Some of the proceeds go to the Children’s Hospital in Savannah, Georgia at Memorial Hospital and we like to give back as we receive,” Waller said. The rodeo generated a $1,000 dollar donation. The rodeo will include food vendors and feature plenty of parking. It’s set for Friday & Saturday, September 25 – 26, 2015 at Ottawa Farms in Bloomingdale. Click the link below for more information.