Just a few miles from the Delaware Memorial Bridge in Pilesgrove, New Jersey, you'll find modern-day cowboys and cowgirls competing at what's hailed the oldest weekly professional rodeo in the United States. Cowtown Rodeo marks its 60th impressive season this year, with special events happening all summer long. This is the real deal folks, and you can catch the wild west experience every Saturday night from May through September. Seven traditional rodeo events are featured, including bull riding, bareback bronc riding, saddle bronc riding, steer wrestling, girls barrel racing, team roping and tie down roping, attracting contestants from all across the country. With all the hootin’ and hollerin, there’s a pretty darn good chance you’ll forget you're in Jersey!
If You Go
You'll find Cowtown Rodeo on Route 40 (Harding Highway) in Pilesgrove, just eight miles east of the Delaware Memorial Bridge. From the NJ Turnpike (Exit 1) and Route 295 (Exit 4), follow signs for Route 40 East and look for the giant roadside cowboy (cool photo opp) at the entrance. Refreshments are available on the grounds and parking is free (bonus). Admission is $15 for adults and $10 for children (ages three to 12). The rodeo starts at 7:30 every Saturday, rain or shine. Gates open at 6:00 p.m.
About that Cowboy - The kitschy-cool, 20-foot tall fiberglass dude that greets you at the entrance has been a part of South Jersey's quirky roadside history for more than 30 years. He's what's called a "muffler man", originally manufactured in the 1960s and 1970s by International Fiberglass in Venice, California.
Make a day of it - Poke around the Cowtown Flea and Farmer’s Market on the rodeo grounds every Saturday (Tuesdays too), from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. where you can score everything from fresh meats, produce, livestock, new and vintage goods, handbags and tools (really).
780 Harding Highway (Route 40)
Pilesgrove, NJ 08098