Three girls from the Cutler Bay and Palmetto Bay area won Grand Champion Awards at the Homestead Rodeo on Jan. 21 in the Mechanical Bull Rodeo Buck Off. The three were riding for Team Pesky Critters, sponsored by Todd Hardwick, owner of Pesky Critters.
The team included Amanda Virok, 14, who is a Cutler Bay resident; McKenna Andris, 17, of Palmetto Bay, and Michelle Horne, 23, of Cutler Bay.
“They beat out 10 other teams including all-guy teams, some of whom actually ride bulls,” said Sheri L. Virok, mother of Amanda Virok. “The Mechanical Bull Buck Off is an event held each year the week of the Homestead Rodeo.”
The Buck Off event benefits three charities: Patches, This Is for the Kids, and This is the Dog. Keyes Realty in Homestead was an event sponsor.
Andris currently competes in Junior Women’s Professional Barrel Racing and was the 2014 Miss Teen Rodeo Florida. She will graduate from Miami Palmetto High in June.
Amanda Virok is a current rider for Goodman Performance Horses Team competing in the National Reining Horse Association and was the 2014 Miss Rodeo Florida Princess Runner Up. She attends Southwood Middle School.
Michelle Horne was born and raised in Cutler Ridge. An avid horse lover at 8 years old, she began private riding lessons in the Redland. At age 17 she owned her own horse and when she was 19 she was the youngest director of the Homestead Everglades Posse precision drill team on horseback.
Besides a trophy, the girls were each awarded a $100 gift certificate to Sunset Western, and, of course, they got huge bragging rights with all the guys — one for the girls.
“We were determined to win,” Amanda Virok said after the competition. “We are capable women. Together we can accomplish anything we set our minds to, even beating a bunch of guys — and we had a blast doing it.”