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Nature Coast Rodeo hopes to rope in crowds

Wranglers, ropers and riders will risk life and limb to subdue the iron wills of broncos and bulls at the Nature Coast Rodeo this weekend.

The second annual event, at Stokes Flea Market on Highway 44 east of Crystal River, is a fund-raiser for the Youth Sports Council of Citrus County. The organization purchases sports equipment for underprivileged girls and boys interested in team sports.

About 100 cowboys from around the southeast will take part in the rodeo. Bull riding, bare-back bronco riding, barrel racing, calf roping, saddle bronco riding and team roping are among the challenges they'll undertake.

Kids can compete in the calf scramble for a chance to win $25 Savings Bonds. Adults wishing to test their old-west skills can take part in the shoot doggin' event, in which they'll attempt to wrestle a longhorn steer to the ground.

"It's good family entertainment," said rodeo organizer Ray Bass.

Shows are Saturday at 8 p.m. and Sunday at 2 p.m. Tickets are $8 for adults and $6 for children ages 7-12. Children under 6 will be admitted free.

Tickets are available at Ray's Real Pit Barbecue on U.S. 19 in Crystal River and at Stoke's.

For information, call 795-2070 or 746-7200.