Here in New England, we’re not exactly known for our cowboy culture. You’re a lot more likely to see people in nautical stripes and anchors than cowboy boots. Some of us, though, need a little Old West in our lives, even in Rhode Island. Enter the Cowboy Rendezvous at Stepping Stone Ranch, which is four days of good old-fashioned boot stomping, cattle wrangling fun on Columbus Day weekend.
“Stepping Stone has always been about a Western theme,” says Heidi Waldron, who owns the ranch with her husband Darrell. “In the 1960s, it used to have showdeos, and country singers like Johnny Cash and Loretta Lynn performed here.”
The Rendezvous continues that tradition, staging performances of horsemanship, line dancing, saloon shows, cowboy dinners and more. There’s even a posse ride, where you hunt down bad guys on horseback. “There is some competition, but it’s just for the fun of it,” Heidi says. “Just come and enjoy yourself with your horse.”
The events are free for spectators, except for the cowboy dinner, which is a ticketed event that’s open to anyone, cowboy or not. “We have this great hall with a 100-year-old bar and a full liquor license,” Heidi says. “We feed people, and we have a saloon girl show. It’s just a whole weekend of fun.” Looks like it’s time to saddle up.