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Rodeo offers barrels of fun
When competing on the bulls, the contestant must stay on for a period of eight seconds to score points. - photo by Phgoto by Patty Leon


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You don’t have to go to Texas to see some good-ole, bucking-bull riders and honest-to-goodness cowboys and cowgirls.
Riders and ropers — young and old — can get their chance to show their rodeo skills at the NC Ranch in Long County.
Husband and wife owners Nino and Michelle Ciccone offer a genuine, competitive rodeo show the first weekend of every month, featuring rodeo riders from the surrounding communities.
Contestants from Gum Branch, Ludowici, Pembroke and other counties slapped on the chaps, prepped their horses, and took it to the rodeo ring Friday night. The cowboys competed in bull riding, calf roping, cattle wrestling and team roping while the cowgirls competed in barrel racing.
Nino Ciccone said he wanted to have a rodeo ranch for most of his life and thanked God for giving him an opportunity to bring it to fruition.
“I was born in Italy and my family moved to New York when I was 10,” he said.
“I lived around another 10 years in New York before joining the military. I served in the military for 20 years and rode for the military rodeo, but I always said if God gave me the opportunity, I would have my own ranch and rodeo for all to enjoy,” he said.
The NC Ranch operates the South East Cowboy Association and was chosen to host the Dixie Circuit Double Points Rodeo for the Professional Armed Forces Rodeo Association.
The event set for Oct 5-6 will be broadcasted by RFD-TV.
Ciccone’s two youngest children, Angelo, 8, and Carmela, 10, were among some of the evenings competitors and seem to share their father’s passion for the rodeo.
The event is family friendly and entertaining with an emphasis on safety. Junior bull riders wear safety helmets instead of traditional cowboy hats.
In addition to the rodeo competition, the NC Ranch offers bull riding, team roping and barrel racing lessons.
They also have a western store with clothing, boots, hats and supplies for the horses and livestock, and also have stables to board horses.
For more information on lessons, boarding, western gear or the rodeo, visit or call (912) 545-9542.

Upcoming event
The next rodeo will be at 8 p.m. Aug. 31 and Sept.1. Admissions to the rodeo are adults, $5: children (6-12), $3; and children, 5 and under, free.
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