Photo courtesy of Mallory Williams Photography
Westonwood Ranch announced that the Third Annual Westwood Ranch Charity Rodeo will be held Friday, March 27 and Saturday, March 28 at 7:30 p.m. at the Freeport Regional Sports Complex. In partnership with The Walton County Sheriff’s Office, the professionally sanctioned rodeo will feature the Professional Cowboy Association’s (PCA) biggest superstars competing in a variety of events. The rodeo will benefit Westonwood Ranch, a transitional services program for individuals with Autism and related developmental disorders
Participants will be coming from around the region to compete in events including Bareback Bronc Riding, Calf Roping, Saddle Bronc Riding, Steer Wrestling, Break-A-Way Roping, Ladies Barrel Racing, Team Roping, and Bull Riding. Rodeo gates open at 6 p.m. each night and families are invited to come early to enjoy the children’s inflatable play area presented by St. Joe Clubs and Resorts, live entertainment as well other activities. In addition, local food vendors will be on-site, including gumbo by Old Florida Fish House and sandwiches from Chick-Fil A among others. The 2018 Westonwood Ranch Charity Rodeo was awarded the “Best New Rodeo of the Year” at the PCA Finals Rodeo in Biloxi, MS and the 2020 rodeo plans to build upon this success of the past years.
“We are excited to once again partner with the PCA and Walton County Sheriff’s Office again to bring this entertaining family-friendly event back to Walton County,” said Lindy Wood, founder of Westonwood Ranch. “Last year’s event was fun for the community and raised over $30,000 for Westonwood Ranch. Our campus has a working ranch with a 5,000 sq. ft. educational center and a 3,500 sq. ft. Aquaponics greenhouse where individuals with Autism and other developmental disorders can learn the skills they need to be active participants in their community and family. We opened our day program to our first students back in August 2019.”
Inspired by their son Weston who was diagnosed with severe nonverbal autism at the age of two, Lindy and her husband founded Westonwood Ranch in 2017 with the goal of helping individuals with Autism and other developmental disorders bridge the gap from school to independent living.
Westonwood Ranch’s unique curriculum was formed with the goal of helping adolescents and young adults gain life skills and achieve independence. The basis of the program revolves around the creation of self- sustaining small business enterprises. The diverse learning curriculum at Westonwood Ranch includes aquaponic farming, ranch maintenance and operations, animal husbandry and culinary skills. A commercial scale aquaponic greenhouse is among the first enterprises implemented on the ranch. This past December, Westonwood Ranch harvested their first commercial lettuce crop selling wholesale to local restaurants. The enriched extra-curricular activities include equine assisted therapy, art instruction, creative fitness initiatives.
“We are so appreciative of Walton County Sheriff, Michael Adkinson Jr., and his entire department for all of their assistance and commitment to our mission,” said Lindy. “We hope to continue to make this program a true community endeavor.”
Tickets for the Westonwood Ranch Charity Rodeo may be purchased at the gate for $15 for adults and $5 for children. Westonwood Ranch is also seeking additional business sponsorships for this event. For more information about how to support the rodeo and Westonwood Ranch, email email@example.com or visit our website at www.westonwood.org.