Despite a spate of event cancellations in the wake of the April 27 tornadoes, the 29th annual Limestone Sheriff’s Rodeo will continue as planned.
Limestone County Sheriff Mike Blakely said too much work had been done and too many contracts had been signed to call off the event on such short notice. He added the event would show residents a good time following weeks of storm recovery and cleanup.
“People are looking for things to do and it’s good, cheap family entertainment,” he said. “It also brings in extra tax dollars because people come in from all over the U.S. to buy lodging, gas and food.”
Advanced tickets for the rodeo are $10 for adults and $8 for children 12 and under. Tickets can also be purchased at the gate for $15 for adults or $10 for children 10 and under. Tickets will be available at the Sheriff’s Office, Jiffy No. 1 and 2 in Athens, Preston’s Western Wear in Athens, Posey’s in Athens, True Discount in Ardmore, Tenn., Warren’s BP in Rogersville and the Decatur and Athens locations of Railroad Bazaar.
Proceeds from the rodeo — which Blakely said vary from year to year —will go toward the Sheriff’s Office, but he expects to raise $50,000 to $60,000. He said some of the funds will be used to buy satellite communications equipment, a luxury his office didn’t have when mass power outages occurred after last month’s storms.
This year’s rodeo, held May 20-21 at the Sheriff’s Rodeo Arena on Highway 99 in Athens, will feature many of the same acts as in years past, including Roman rider Dusti Crain McCall and rodeo clown Mike Whitworth. Also up for grabs is $50,000 in prize money, though Blakely won’t know how many contestants will be competing until after registration begins Monday.
Events will formally kick off at 1 p.m. Saturday with the Rodeo Parade lineup, featuring grand marshal and recently retired Probate Judge Mike Davis. The parade will begin at 2 p.m. and start at the Rodeo Arena and will travel to Market Street and the Courthouse Square before traveling north on Jefferson Street. The route will then travel toward Elm Street, turn left and return to the arena.
There is no entry fee for the parade, which Blakely said usually features hundreds of horses, mules and wagons.
Other scheduled events include:
• Preston’s Rodeo Kickoff at 5 p.m. Monday at Preston’s Western & Oudoor Wear in Athens; free admission;
• Rodeo Street Dance at 7 p.m. Tuesday on the Limestone County Courthouse Square; free admission;
• Designated Slack competition Thursday at the Rodeo Arena; gates open at 9 a.m., slack begins at 10; admission $5;
• Exceptional Rodeo at 10 a.m. Friday at the Rodeo Arena; a rodeo for individuals with special needs; free admission;
• Rodeo on Friday and Saturday; gates open at 6 p.m.; Kids Gold Rush at 7; opening ceremonies at 8; bareback bronc riding, calf roping, break-away roping, steer wrestling, saddle bronc riding, kids calf scramble, cowgirls barrel racing, chuck wagon races, bull riding and professional rodeo clowns and specialty acts.
For more information, visit http://www.limestonesheriffrodeo.com.