Saddle up, city-slicking Savannahians. Y'all are getting a nearby rodeo.

It's a "real rodeo," according to LeRoy Lane, a rancher at Ottawa Farms in Bloomingdale.

"I think this is the first professional rodeo that's been in the Savannah area in many years," Lane said. "And it'll be the real deal."

Ottawa Farms in Bloomingdale is known for strawberry picking, but the 700-acre spot will host roping and riding on Sept. 26 and 27, beginning at 7:30 p.m. each night.

Has the Savannah area ever hosted a true rodeo?

"Not that I ever recall," said Pete Waller, whose family has run Ottawa Farms since 1878.

"This is not a little act," he said. "This is a circuit rodeo."

The event brings in top cowboys and cowgirls battling for money and a better chance at participating in the championship for an International Professional Rodeo Association title in Oklahoma.

Some cowboys are from as far away as Canada and Mexico, Waller said.

The rodeo clown, Dusty Myers, performs at intermission. He, too, is top-notch, winning the Clown of the Year award for the IPRA five times.

And yes, there will be bull riding, the event finale.

"The trouble with riding a bull," Waller said, "is he wants to kill you once he throws you off."

The ride requires determination and a great sense of balance, but the cowboys are ready, according to Lane.

"We'll have some world-class bulls, and some cowboys who can cover them," he said.

Other male sports of the night include saddle bronc riding - a bronc is a horse - where a cowboy uses rhythm to stay on a horse that doesn't want him there; bareback bronc riding that is like the saddle bronc event minus a full saddle; team roping, where two mounted riders work to rope and take down a steer; and calf roping.

For women, the rodeo holds two categories.

In barrel racing, a woman runs her horse in a cloverleaf pattern around three drums. It's a race against the clock, and if she knocks over a barrel, five seconds are added.

She must have a well-trained horse, Lane said.

In the other female event, women rope but don't throw a calf.

Among the competitors is Justin Thigpen of Waycross, the reigning world-record holder in steer wrestling and tie-down roping for the IPRA.

Children are the only non-professionals invited inside the ring. They'll vie for the $20 prize in a calf scramble, where the first to pull a ribbon off the fleeing animal wins.

"It's great fun," Lane said of the scramble.

Food vendors will satisfy the hungry, and the thirsty can purchase soda or water.

Ottawa Farms is keeping its family-friendly atmosphere for the rodeo and prohibiting alcohol.

And for animal lovers leery of watching livestock get injured, Lane said the animals won't be hurt.

"They're professional athletes," he said.

They'll perform for about eight seconds and get the rest of the day off, he said.

"And you know, they're bred to buck," Lane said. "These animals buck because they like it and they're good at it."

Ottawa Farms will donate a portion of the proceeds to the Children's Hospital at Memorial University Medical Center.

"We want to give back to the community because the community has been good to Ottawa Farms," Lane said.

"This is a true rodeo," Waller said. "It's probably going to be one of the greatest shows we have in this part of the country."