By Lora Scripps
A rodeo, started in 1992 by the late Police Chief William “Doc” Oliver and a number of Ardmore reserves, is fast approaching.
The 21st annual Ardmore Police & Reserves Rodeo is slated for Aug. 2-3 at John Barnes Park in Ardmore, Tenn. Rodeo action will start at 8 p.m.
“As many people know, Doc was determined to make Ardmore’s rodeo a success and he did with the help of many throughout the years,” said one event organizer, Sonya Mitchell. “He stayed involved until his retirement.”
Mitchell said the rodeo is the Ardmore Police Reserves main fundraising event. “These reserve officers donate their time for free to help add extra patrol time for the safety of the community,” she said. “Funds from the rodeo are used to support the reserve officers as well as to provide much-needed equipment and equipment maintenance for the entire Ardmore Police Department.”
Through the years, funds have been used to purchase various equipment including uniforms, radios, police vests and training, to name a few.
Rodeo funds have also paid for two reserve officers to attend the police academy and both have been hired by the Ardmore Police Department, according to Mitchell. Out of eight officers employed by the department, seven are former reserves.
Mitchell said the rodeo has grown over the years. “We hope to continue for many more,” she said.
Some new additions to this year’s rodeo include new trophies and extra goodies for Miss Ardmore in the Rodeo Queen Contest, a hospitality tent for rodeo contestants and workers and a Kids Zone. The Kids Zone will open at 6 p.m. both nights and will feature a petting zoo, pony rides, a dunking booth and face painting by members of the Ardmore Girls & Boys Club. Members of the military will also be on-site with a Hummer H3 with video games and a military flight simulator.
Annual Ardmore rodeo T-shirts, sizes youth small to adult 3XL, and airbrushed tags will be on sale.
Saddle tickets are also being sold. The cost for a chance is $3.
The Ardmore rodeo will also include a street dance at 6:30 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 1, at the Tennessee Entertainment stage at John Barnes Park. The dance is free to the public and will include food, drinks and live entertainment by The Johnny Collier Band.
A dunking booth will allow participants the opportunity to dunk some of Ardmore’s police officers and reserves.
“Don’t miss your chance for that,” said Mitchell. “Bring your lawn chairs and enjoy the fun.”
The Rodeo Queen Contest is open for ages 1 to 21. The entry fee is $25. Horsemanship is optional at no extra fee.
Contestants will be judged on personality, appearance and poise.
Winners will receive a hat crown, sash and a trophy. First and second runners-up receive a trophy and sash. All others receive a participation trophy. There will be a separate prize for horsemanship.
The deadline to enter is July 17. Judging is on July 20.
Forms can be picked up at Preston’s Western Wear in Athens, Adams Western Wear in Ardmore, Ardmore Police Department and Roy & Rogers in Fayetteville, Tenn., or by emailing ardmorepdreserves.com.
To enter the rodeo event, contact Burgess Rodeo at 256-423-2012 or www.burgessrodeo.com.
Advance tickets are $8 for children ages 6-12 and $10 for ages 13 and up.
Tickets at the gate are $10 for children ages 6-12 and $12 for ages 13 and up. Children under age 5 are admitted free.
“We look forward to having you at the rodeo and hope that you will enjoy the fast-paced action and family atmosphere that the rodeo provides,” said Ardmore Police Chief David Whitt. “Your attendance and support is greatly appreciated. We are working hard to make each year better for you. I want to personally thank everyone involved that has put their time into making the rodeo what it is.”