The Block & Bridle Club

C005600 (1)You don’t know fun until you’ve played Cowboy Musical Chairs – at least, that’s probably what these two University of Florida students (C. A. Robbins and B. Hibbs) would have told you back in 1947 as they wrestled for the last available seat.

This event was one of many highlights in the annual “Block and Bridle” club rodeo, a celebration and tribute to the agrarian roots of UF students raised in the heart of Florida cattle country.

In the cowboy version of this childhood classic, two lines of chairs are placed on opposite ends of a rodeo arena. The action begins with all cowboys and cowgirls seated on one side (where there are enough seats for everyone) holding onto their steeds be the reins. When the music starts, they have to mount up, race to the other end and claim one of the remaining chairs, all while maintaining control over their horse. One chair gets removed every round so that a horse and rider pair gets eliminated after each crossing.

 

The rough-riding, wholesome fun of Cowboy Musical Chairs is a great testament to the enduring legacy of the Block and Bridle club, which still thrives at UF in Gainesville today. The organization was established in 1919 by students from animal husbandry programs around the country. Their aim was to provide members with professional development through areas of service, education and leadership, while also making a positive impact on the agricultural industry by investing in the next generation.

Nowadays, the club’s mission remains the same. In the Gainesville chapter, students at UF and Santa Fe College are invited to join with other students, faculty and industry leaders as they prepare for careers in animal science related fields. With over 92 regional branches in colleges and universities around the United States, students have the opportunity to network and compete at the national level in contests related to the animal agricultural industry.

The Block and Bridle Emblem

The club emblem is and always has been a large “B” accentuated on the top with a meat block and cleaver, and on the bottom with an equestrian bridle. While overtly agrarian, the symbolism of the insignia goes far beyond the physical tools it depicts.

The straight and perpendicular backbone of the “B” symbolizes the upright character, sincerity and morality of initiated members, while its curves speak to those same members’ social pleasure, energy and determination. The meat cleaver represents the material aspects of agrarian life, including the hard physical labor required, while the bridle in the lower half stands for the self-control endemic to those who respect themselves, their company and their livestock.

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