Masbate cattle festival gallops to higher mileage of success

MASBATE CITY, April 22 (PNA) -- Loud screams, amid the sun’s glittering beams, from first-time spectators echoed in the Grand Arena when the cowboys proudly displayed their skills in the Bull Riding competition.

The challenging sounds of the screams and the apparent bull-riders’ dreams to win simply defined the essence of the sport called the Rodeo.

For Gene Gregorio, Masbate Gold Project (MGP) communications director, this was his first time to experience watching a Rodeo.

His urge for watching the competitions intensified by the day and he became a regular in the Grand Arena every afternoon.

“This growing passion for Rodeo could be likened to Hemingway’s love for bullfighting. The sun, the sand, the cheers of the crowd, and the dangers of Rodeo events reminded me of scenes from Hemingway’s ‘The Sun Also Rises’,” Gregorio said.

The MGP is one of the major sponsors of the Rodeo, represented by its key officials composed of Danilo Latuga, Ray Mead, Ramon Velasco, and Florencio Cayco.

Reckoning the Rodeo Masbateno Festival as Masbate’s main sport and cultural event annually, the MGP management threw its full support behind it.

The Rodeo reached new height this year because it was enjoyed not only by the locals but also by tourists from all over the country and from other countries.

It was speculated earlier that the 2015 Rodeo Masbateño Festival would not thrive due to recent political developments.

It, however, defied doomsayers and simply hopped along to become the howling success that everyone enjoyed.

Spell-binding Rodeo competitions, nightly events with bands at the Beer Plaza, and a carnival were brought on by Rodeo Masbateno Inc. (RMI) with the help of its major sponsors; the provincial government of Masbate, the Masbate City government, DMCI, and the MGP.

In an interview during the MGP Night, Community Relations manager Ramon Velasco reiterated MGP’s untiring support to the province’s needs and welfare to help improve the life of Masbateños and its economy.

“The Masbate Gold Project’s support for Rodeo Masbateno Festival 2015 and the Balud Beach Football Festival clearly shows the company’s support for sports and tourism as part of its sustained efforts to contribute to Masbate’s social and economic development. That is MininG resPonsibly,“ Velasco said.

Indeed, Masbate’s pride is on the rise as the Rodeo acquired the rating of one of the country’s biggest tourist attractions from the International Directory.

On its 22nd year, the Rodeo Festival has achieved the purpose of making Masbate’s cattle industry known across the country, recalled one of the original Rodeo founders, Charlie Agatep.

The PR guru, a close friend of the late Gov. Moises Espinosa Jr., helped conceptualize and organize the first-ever Rodeo event in 1993.

Agatep, then group chairman and chief executive officer of Agatep and Associates (now known as Grupo Agatep) was commissioned by Governor Espinosa to handle public relations for the first Rodeo.

Their concept went beyond Rodeo sports, the event was also a means for attracting merchants and cattle buyers.

At that time, cattle of different brands were also being displayed in the corral for trading.

Although Agatep was not around for this year’s Rodeo opening, he sent PR consultant Kathryn Caday and PR executive Michelle Bayhon to experience the event and the other delights of Masbate.

Complementing this year’s Rodeo as a tourism and sports event was the recently-conceived Beach Football Festival held in Palani, Balud from April 16 to 17.

The first-ever national beach football tournament had 51 teams participating from all over the country.

Aside from beach football, Gregorio mentioned another first in this year’s Rodeo, namely, the launch of the Proud Masbateño Ako Inc. (PMAI) headed by Maloli Espinosa during the MGP Night.

The Rodeo event normally pays tribute to the competing cowboys by feting them to dinner, cowboy songs, beer, and souvenirs at the Rodeo Grand Arena.

To make the general public more aware of MininG resPonsibly, MGP set up a booth with different exhibits on gold production, the uses of gold, and how gold is invested.

Thousands of visitors had their pictures taken in a photo booth or behind a stand with cowboy or cowgirl attire free of charge, while MGP personnel were on hand to provide information.

MGP’s solid support for festivities like the Rodeo positively impacts on the provincial economy because Rodeo is simply a unique festival.

It attracts tourists and investors to experience the event, contribute to local livelihood and revenues, and discover the potentials of Masbate.

The Masbate Gold Project has supported the Rodeo Festival for several years now to the mutual satisfaction of Masbatenos and the company’s employees.

“MininG resPonsibly is at the core of MGP’s commitment and contributions to the community. This can be seen in the MGP’s social development projects, its contributions to Masbate’s economic development, in MGP’s environmental management programs, and its support for the province’s culture and sports. In this way, we support its heritage that attracts tourism investment and leads to economic development,” Velasco said.

Indeed, the MGP’s vision of “Mining Responsibly cares for the future” is evident in the sands of the Rodeo Arena and of Palani’s football festival.

“Mining ResPonsibly cares for the future” means all of MGP’s plans and actions are geared toward a better future for Aroroy children and the following generations. (PNA) RMA/FGS/NBT/CBD/EDS