Header Notice

Winter is here! Check out the winter wonderlands at these 5 amazing winter destinations in Montana

Westgate River Ranch Resort And Rodeo – Florida’s Best Rodeo


Modified: December 27, 2023

by Dora Albright



Welcome to Westgate River Ranch Resort and Rodeo, Florida’s premier destination for thrilling rodeo experiences and unforgettable adventures. Nestled in the heart of Florida’s wilderness, this expansive resort offers a captivating blend of rustic charm and modern amenities, creating the perfect destination for nature lovers, adventure seekers, and rodeo enthusiasts alike.


From its humble beginnings as a cattle ranch in the 1800s, Westgate River Ranch has evolved into a world-class resort that embraces Florida’s rich western heritage. This unique and captivating destination showcases the untamed spirit of the American West, offering guests an authentic cowboy experience like no other.


Whether you’re looking to witness heart-pounding rodeo action, explore the stunning natural beauty of Central Florida, indulge in delicious dining options, or simply relax in luxury accommodations, Westgate River Ranch has something for everyone. Escape the hustle and bustle of city life and immerse yourself in a one-of-a-kind adventure that will leave you with treasured memories for years to come.


So saddle up, put on your boots, and get ready to experience the best of Florida’s cowboy culture at Westgate River Ranch Resort and Rodeo. In this article, we’ll dive into the history of the resort, the incredible activities and attractions it offers, the world-class rodeo experience, the variety of accommodations available, and much more. Get ready for an unforgettable journey into the heart of the wild west, right here in the Sunshine State.


Overview of Westgate River Ranch Resort and Rodeo

Westgate River Ranch Resort and Rodeo is a sprawling 1,700-acre resort located in Central Florida. It is the perfect destination for those seeking a unique and immersive cowboy experience without having to travel to the traditional western states. Situated just an hour south of Orlando, this rustic retreat offers a wide range of activities, amenities, and entertainment options for guests of all ages.


The resort features a variety of accommodations to suit every traveler’s needs, from cozy lodge rooms to spacious cottages and even luxury teepees for those looking for a truly unique stay. The rustic elegance of the accommodations, combined with modern conveniences, ensures that guests enjoy comfort and relaxation during their stay.


One of the highlights of a visit to Westgate River Ranch is the world-class rodeo experience. The resort has its own rodeo arena, where visitors can witness thrilling displays of horsemanship, barrel racing, bull riding, and more. Every Saturday night, the rodeo comes to life with professional cowboys and cowgirls showcasing their skills in a fast-paced, action-packed show that will leave you on the edge of your seat.


In addition to the rodeo, the resort offers a plethora of activities for guests to enjoy. Adventurous souls can embark on an airboat ride through the Florida Everglades, explore the countryside on horseback, or tackle the challenging zip line and aerial adventure courses. For those seeking a more relaxed experience, fishing, hayrides, and golf are just a few of the many options available.


Families will delight in the resort’s vast array of amenities designed to entertain the young and young at heart. There’s a petting zoo, mini-golf, pony rides, a rock climbing wall, and even a mechanical bull. The resort also hosts themed weekends and holiday events throughout the year, ensuring that there’s always something exciting happening for everyone.


When it comes to dining and entertainment, Westgate River Ranch does not disappoint. Guests can savor delicious meals at the Smokehouse Grill, where mouthwatering barbeque and Southern specialties are on the menu. In the evening, the River Ranch Saloon comes alive with live music, line dancing, and entertainment that will make you feel like you’ve stepped back in time to the days of the Wild West.


Whether you’re a nature lover, adventure enthusiast, rodeo fan, or just looking for a unique getaway, Westgate River Ranch Resort and Rodeo is the ideal destination. With its picturesque setting, wide range of activities, and warm hospitality, it offers a truly unforgettable experience that will leave you longing to return time and time again.


History of Westgate River Ranch Resort and Rodeo

The history of Westgate River Ranch Resort and Rodeo dates back to the 1800s when it was first established as a working cattle ranch in the heart of Florida. Originally known as River Ranch, the property was a thriving part of the state’s booming cattle industry, with sprawling pastures and a bustling ranching community.


Throughout the years, the ranch changed hands several times, each owner adding their own unique touch to the property. In the 1960s, the ranch was purchased by country music legend Gene Autry, who saw the potential to transform the expansive property into a premier western-themed destination. Under Autry’s ownership, River Ranch was developed into a thriving resort, complete with accommodations, recreational activities, and of course, a rodeo arena.


Over time, the resort changed hands once again and in 2001 became part of the Westgate Resorts family. Westgate invested in significant renovations and expansions, turning River Ranch into the world-class Westgate River Ranch Resort and Rodeo that we know today. The resort has since become a beloved getaway for families, couples, and cowboy enthusiasts from all over the world.


The history and heritage of the ranch are still deeply ingrained in the resort’s identity. From the rustic architecture and western-themed decor to the authentic cowboy experiences available, Westgate River Ranch embraces its roots while offering modern comforts and amenities.


The rodeo has always been a centerpiece of the resort’s attractions. It showcases the thrilling sport of rodeo, with professional cowboys and cowgirls competing in various events like bull riding, barrel racing, and calf roping. It’s not just a rodeo show but an opportunity for guests to immerse themselves in the spirit of the Wild West and experience the adrenaline and excitement firsthand.


The resort continues to evolve and expand, offering new and exciting experiences for its guests. Today, Westgate River Ranch Resort and Rodeo stands as a testament to the rich history and enduring spirit of the American West in the heart of Florida. Whether you’re an avid rodeo fan, a lover of outdoor adventures, or simply seeking a unique vacation experience, the resort’s rich history and commitment to providing an authentic cowboy experience make it the perfect destination.


Activities and Attractions at Westgate River Ranch Resort and Rodeo

At Westgate River Ranch Resort and Rodeo, the possibilities for adventure and entertainment are endless. Whether you’re seeking adrenaline-pumping thrills or a relaxing getaway, the resort offers a wide range of activities and attractions to suit every interest.


One of the most popular attractions at the resort is the rodeo. Every Saturday night, guests gather at the rodeo arena to witness the heart-racing action of professional cowboys and cowgirls as they compete in events such as bull riding, barrel racing, and steer wrestling. It’s an exhilarating experience that showcases the skills and bravery of these incredible athletes.


For those seeking a taste of the great outdoors, the resort provides an abundance of recreational activities. Explore the serene beauty of nature on horseback with guided trail rides that take you through the scenic landscape of Central Florida. Unleash your inner adventurer on the zip line and aerial adventure course, where you can soar high above the treetops and challenge yourself on various thrilling obstacles.


Animal lovers will find joy in the petting zoo, where they can interact with a variety of friendly creatures including goats, sheep, pigs, and more. You can also enjoy fishing in the stocked ponds, take a leisurely bike ride, or embark on an exciting airboat ride through the nearby wetlands to catch a glimpse of Florida’s fascinating wildlife.


The resort offers a range of amenities for guests to enjoy. Take a dip in the swimming pool or relax in one of the hot tubs to unwind after a day of adventures. Engage in friendly competition with a game of miniature golf or volleyball. Kids can have a blast at the rock climbing wall or on the playground, while adults can indulge in some pampering at the spa or break a sweat at the fitness center.


Themed weekends and holiday events add an extra layer of excitement to your stay at Westgate River Ranch. From western-themed celebrations to special events for families, there’s always something happening to keep you entertained. You might find yourself participating in cow pie bingo, enjoying live music under the stars, or joining in on a lively line dancing session.


When it comes to dining, the resort offers a variety of options to satisfy every palate. Sample mouthwatering barbeque and Southern specialties at the Smokehouse Grill, where you’ll find a menu filled with smoky, flavorful dishes. The River Ranch Saloon is the perfect spot to kick back and enjoy live entertainment, delicious cocktails, and dancing.


Whether you’re seeking adventure, relaxation, or a little bit of both, Westgate River Ranch Resort and Rodeo has it all. With a wide array of activities and attractions, there’s never a dull moment during your stay at this incredible western-themed oasis in the heart of Central Florida.


The Rodeo Experience at Westgate River Ranch Resort and Rodeo

At Westgate River Ranch Resort and Rodeo, the highlight of the Western experience is undoubtedly the exhilarating rodeo. Step into the rodeo arena and be prepared for a night filled with heart-stopping action, incredible displays of horsemanship, and the thrill of watching professional cowboys and cowgirls compete in a variety of challenging events.


The rodeo at Westgate River Ranch is held every Saturday night, and it brings the spirit and excitement of the Wild West to life. It’s a chance to witness firsthand the skills and bravery of the riders as they participate in events such as bull riding, barrel racing, team roping, and steer wrestling. The energy in the arena is palpable as the crowd cheers on the competitors and the announcer fuels the excitement.


The bull riding event is arguably the most thrilling and pulse-pounding event of the rodeo. Watch in awe as riders attempt to stay atop a bucking bull for a full eight seconds, showcasing their strength, balance, and courage. It’s a true test of skill and determination, and the cheers from the crowd only add to the intensity of the moment.


Barrel racing is another crowd favorite, featuring cowgirls skillfully maneuvering their horses around barrels in a race against the clock. The speed, precision, and sheer athleticism of both horse and rider make for a captivating and heart-pounding spectacle.


In addition to the main events, the rodeo at Westgate River Ranch also includes crowd-pleasing acts such as trick riding and specialty acts. These performers showcase incredible stunts, impressive riding skills, and a deep love for the western way of life. From breathtaking jumps to impressive rope tricks, these acts add an extra layer of excitement and entertainment to the rodeo experience.


For those who want to take their rodeo experience to the next level, Westgate River Ranch offers the opportunity to participate in the rodeo through their “Junior Rodeo” program. Kids can sign up for events like mutton busting or calf scramble and experience the thrill of competing in a real rodeo. It’s a memorable and empowering experience that allows young ones to showcase their own rodeo skills and create lasting memories.


Attending the rodeo at Westgate River Ranch is more than just watching a show – it’s an immersive experience that takes you on a journey into the heart of the cowboy culture. The sights, sounds, and energy of the rodeo create an unforgettable atmosphere, making it a must-do activity for guests of all ages.


So, grab your cowboy hat, put on your boots, and get ready for an evening of excitement and adrenaline at the rodeo at Westgate River Ranch Resort. It’s an experience that truly embodies the spirit of the Wild West and will leave you with a newfound appreciation for the world of rodeo sports.


Accommodation Options at Westgate River Ranch Resort and Rodeo

When it comes to accommodations, Westgate River Ranch Resort and Rodeo offers a variety of options to suit every traveler’s needs and preferences. From cozy lodge rooms to spacious cottages and even luxury teepees, guests can choose from a range of unique and comfortable lodging options that perfectly complement the rustic charm of the resort.


The lodge rooms at Westgate River Ranch combine the comfort of modern amenities with a touch of old-world charm. These cozy accommodations provide all the essentials for a comfortable stay, including plush bedding, flat-screen TVs, mini-fridges, and more. Some rooms even feature a private patio or balcony, where guests can unwind and enjoy the beautiful views of the surrounding nature.


If you’re looking for a bit more space, the resort offers charming one and two-bedroom cottages. These fully furnished cottages provide a home-away-from-home experience, complete with a living area, a fully equipped kitchen, multiple bedrooms, and a private porch. It’s an ideal option for families or larger groups who want to enjoy their own private space while still being close to all the resort’s amenities.


For those seeking a unique and unforgettable experience, the resort offers luxury teepees. These spacious and lavishly decorated teepees offer the perfect blend of comfort and adventure. Inside, guests will find modern amenities such as air conditioning, comfortable beds, and private bathrooms. The authentic Native American-inspired decor adds a touch of elegance and cultural richness to the experience.


No matter which accommodation option you choose, all guests at Westgate River Ranch can enjoy access to the resort’s numerous amenities and recreational activities. Whether it’s relaxing by the pool, participating in outdoor BBQs, or joining in on one of the resort’s many themed events, there’s always something to do and enjoy.


Additionally, the resort offers a variety of packages and special offers that cater to different preferences and budgets. Whether you’re looking for a romantic getaway, a family vacation, or a weekend retreat with friends, there’s a package that will suit your needs.


With its range of unique, comfortable, and well-appointed accommodations, Westgate River Ranch ensures that guests have a cozy and welcoming place to rest and recharge after a day of adventure and excitement. Whether you prefer the charm of a lodge room, the spaciousness of a cottage, or the one-of-a-kind experience of a luxury teepee, you’ll find the perfect accommodation option to make your stay at the resort truly memorable.


Dining and Entertainment at Westgate River Ranch Resort and Rodeo

At Westgate River Ranch Resort and Rodeo, you’ll find a delightful array of dining options and entertainment that will satisfy all your cravings and keep you entertained throughout your stay.


Start your day off right with a delicious breakfast at the Smokehouse Grill. This inviting restaurant offers a variety of breakfast specialties, including hearty omelets, fluffy pancakes, and traditional southern favorites. Fuel up for a day of adventures and get ready to start your morning off on a delicious note.


The Smokehouse Grill also shines in its lunch and dinner offerings. Indulge in mouthwatering barbeque dishes such as succulent ribs, tender brisket, and savory pulled pork. The menu also features an array of Southern specialties, including fried chicken, catfish, and homemade sides. The rustic and inviting atmosphere of the Smokehouse Grill makes it the perfect spot to enjoy a satisfying meal after a day of exploring the resort.


For those looking for a lively and entertaining dining experience, head over to the River Ranch Saloon. This vibrant venue offers live music, line dancing, and a wide selection of refreshing drinks. Sip on handcrafted cocktails and dance the night away to the sounds of country music or catch a live performance by talented musicians. The River Ranch Saloon is the perfect place to unwind, socialize, and enjoy a lively evening of entertainment.


In addition to the onsite dining options, Westgate River Ranch also offers a variety of catering options for special events and gatherings. Whether you’re celebrating a wedding, hosting a corporate retreat, or organizing a family reunion, the resort’s catering team can create a customized menu to meet your needs and make your event truly memorable.


Throughout the year, the resort hosts themed weekends and holiday events that add an extra layer of entertainment. From country music festivals to Halloween celebrations and everything in between, there’s always something exciting happening at Westgate River Ranch. These events feature live entertainment, activities, and attractions that cater to guests of all ages and interests, making your stay even more enjoyable.


In addition to the dining and entertainment options within the resort, the surrounding area offers a wealth of attractions and activities. Explore the nearby town of Lake Wales, where you’ll find shops, restaurants, and historic sites to discover. Take a scenic drive and visit the Bok Tower Gardens, a peaceful sanctuary with beautifully manicured gardens and a stunning 205-foot singing tower.


With its diverse dining options, lively entertainment venues, and proximity to nearby attractions, Westgate River Ranch Resort and Rodeo ensures that your stay is not only filled with thrilling adventures but also with delicious meals and memorable entertainment experiences.


How to Get to Westgate River Ranch Resort and Rodeo

Getting to Westgate River Ranch Resort and Rodeo is a breeze, no matter where you’re coming from. The resort is conveniently located in Central Florida, just an hour’s drive south of Orlando.


If you’re flying in, the nearest major airport is Orlando International Airport (MCO), which is approximately 70 miles north of the resort. From the airport, you can rent a car and enjoy a scenic drive through the Florida countryside to reach Westgate River Ranch. The drive is approximately 1 hour and 30 minutes, depending on traffic.


If you prefer not to drive or don’t have access to a car, you can also arrange transportation services from the airport to the resort. Many private shuttle and car services are available to provide a comfortable and convenient transfer to Westgate River Ranch.


For those already in the Central Florida area, the resort is easily accessible by car. From Orlando, simply take I-4 West to US-27 South, and continue on US-27 until you reach the entrance to the resort. The drive takes approximately 1 hour, depending on traffic and the specific location in Orlando.


Once you arrive at Westgate River Ranch, you’ll find ample parking available. The resort is spread across a vast property, and parking is conveniently located near the accommodations and main amenities. If you’re staying in one of the accommodations within the resort, everything you need is within walking distance, making it easy to navigate and explore the property.


If you prefer not to drive or want to explore the area without worrying about parking, the resort offers a variety of transportation options for getting around the property. From golf cart rentals to bicycle rentals, you have several convenient and eco-friendly options to choose from.


With its easily accessible location and various transportation options, getting to Westgate River Ranch Resort and Rodeo is a hassle-free experience. Whether you’re traveling by car or arranging transportation from the airport, you’ll be able to reach the resort conveniently and start enjoying all the excitement and adventure it has to offer.



Westgate River Ranch Resort and Rodeo is the epitome of a true Western experience right in the heart of Florida. From the thrilling rodeo shows to the wide range of activities, accommodations, dining options, and entertainment, this resort offers a one-of-a-kind getaway that combines rustic charm with modern amenities.


Whether you’re seeking adventure on horseback, thrills on the zip line course, or the excitement of watching professional cowboys and cowgirls compete in the rodeo arena, Westgate River Ranch has something for everyone. The resort’s dedication to preserving the rich cowboy culture and providing an authentic Western experience is evident in every aspect of your stay.


With comfortable accommodations ranging from lodge rooms to cottages and luxury teepees, you’ll find the perfect home base to relax and recharge after a day of exploring. The dining options at the Smokehouse Grill and the vibrant entertainment at the River Ranch Saloon ensure that your taste buds are tantalized and your evenings are filled with fun and laughter.


Whether you’re planning a family vacation, a romantic getaway, or a group retreat, Westgate River Ranch Resort and Rodeo offers a truly unique and immersive experience. The resort’s combination of thrilling activities, authentic rodeo experiences, and Western-themed entertainment creates an atmosphere that will make you feel like a true cowboy or cowgirl.


So saddle up, put on your boots, and get ready for an unforgettable adventure at Westgate River Ranch Resort and Rodeo. Immerse yourself in the wild west charm, experience the adrenaline of the rodeo, explore the beautiful surroundings, and create memories that will last a lifetime. Whether you’re a Florida local or coming from afar, Westgate River Ranch is not just a destination, but an unforgettable experience that will leave you yearning to return time and time again.