PILESGROVE, N.J. (CBS) – South Jersey’s popular Cowtown Rodeo announced it will be entertaining families for generations to come.
The cowboy way is a tradition passed down from one generation to another.
Grant Harris is the fourth generation of his family to own the Cowtown Rodeo in Pilesgrove Township.
It opened in 1929 and is America’s longest running weekly rodeo.
“It’s action-packed, lots of fun every Saturday night, May through September,” said Grant’s daughter, Katy Griscom, who made her rodeo debut at age 6.
She hopes her son Nate will take the Cowtown reigns one day, and now that’s one step closer to reality.
Forfeiting some of their future land rights, the Harris family has chosen to preserve about 375 acres of farmland around the rodeo. The United States Department of Agriculture spent $2.3 million to buy those rights and keep the property as open grasslands. The first such purchase in New Jersey.
“Once it’s gone it’s gone for good and we’re very fortunate to have this here,” said New Jersey Senate President Steve Sweeney.
The rodeo and farmers market is only half of the Harris family business, they also raise about 100 horses and more than 500 head of cattle, and all the corn and hay to feed these animals. So that’s why preserving hundreds of acres of land around the rodeo are so important.
“The land is the key ingredient for our family’s success over generations and there’s been a lot of temptations of the years,” said Grant.
Seeing his grandson already riding high, Grant knows he’s making the right decision.
“You know that may change, he’s only five but to warm pop-pop’s heart up that’s pretty hard to beat,” says Grant.
“This is a great life, why would you want to do anything else,” says Katy.