Saddle bronc rider Cody DeMoss of Heflin, La., and bareback rider Chris Harris of Itasca, Texas, recently returned from an exhibition roughstock event in Calulo, Angola, Africa. They were also joined by Canadian bareback rider Roger Lacasse.
The event featured seven contestants in each of the three roughstock events-bareback riding, saddle bronc riding and bull riding. DeMoss, Harris and Lacasse were the only competitors from North America, with contestants from Brazil making up the rest of the field.
The organizers of the event constructed an arena that held at least 5,000 fans but another 20,000 or more could watch the action on a big screen just behind the arena grandstands. The event featured two rounds and a final round with the top rider winning $30,000 (U.S. dollars) and second got $20,000. DeMoss and Harris returned victorious.
"I had never been overseas and we weren't really sure how this event was going to go," DeMoss said. "We got on horses that had never been bucked but it all worked out and the fans loved the action. It was a great experience."
Both DeMoss and Harris admit that the fans weren't sure about the cowboys from the United States at first but after DeMoss jumped on a saddle horse and roped one of the bucking horses that they were having trouble getting out of the arena, things seemed a little more normal.
"When Cody jumped out there and was roping horses and bulls, those people were impressed and thought that Cody was the greatest cowboy that walked the earth," Harris said. "That is one reason I wanted to take him over there was because he is cowboy through and through and such a great guy to be around."
Harris got involved in the event through Pedro Torres who works for Harris in Texas. Torres met Mr. Henrique Prata, who owns a cancer hospital in Brazil. Prata came to the 2007 Wrangler National Finals Rodeo and after the event went to Harris' ranch to see his bucking horses that he was raising. Prata bought 42 head of horses from Harris and shipped them to Brazil. From there they left the older, more seasoned horses in Brazil and shipped the younger horses to Africa for this first ever roughstock/rodeo event. Prata and Mr. Reinaldo Vieira from Angola, Africa then invited Harris and two other cowboys to come to the event. Harris asked DeMoss and Lacasse to join him and the trip was set.
Following a successful event, the organizers started discussing the possibility of doing a similar event in late August but this time it would be in the capital of Angola, which is Luanda.
"When we left they were talking about having the same guys back in August to put on another event in Luanda," Harris said. "We all had a good time and we would definitely consider going back."