• 77°

Rodeo kicks off Memorial Day weekend

Memorial Day is observed on the last Monday in May and commemorates United States men and women who died while in military service.

Memorial Day weekend marks the beginning of summer and is also a time for weekend getaways and backyard barbecues. But around Pike County, it’s rodeo time.

This Memorial Day weekend the Pike County Cattlemen’s Association will host the 17th Annual Professional Cowboy Association Championship Rodeo at Cattleman Park on May 22-23.

The rodeo annually attracts between 200 and 300 professional cowboys and cowgirls from all across the Southeast and provides some of the best rodeo entertainment around, said B.B. Palmer, Cattlemen publicity chair.

“Each year the Pike County Cattlemen’s PCA Championship Rodeo has gotten a little bigger and better,” he said. “Not only do we have outstanding competitors, we also have one of the best rodeo announcers, one of the best rodeo clowns and a great specialty act.

“We’ve got eight exciting events – bareback riding, calf roping, steer wrestling, saddle broc riding, breakaway roping, ladies’ barrel racing, team roping and bull riding. And, of course, we have a covered arena so the weather’s not a factor.”

The rodeo starts at 7:30 p.m. nightly and the gates open at 5 p.m.

“We’ll have the concession stand open so we invite everyone to come early and eat supper, visit the vendors who have a wide variety of rodeo items and enjoy the fellowship of friends and neighbors,” Palmer said.

Cowboy Church will be at 6 p.m. nightly and the featured speaker will be the Rev. Bobby Hood, pastor of Salem Baptist Church in Brundidge. The public is invited to attend.

“From what we’ve been hearing, rodeos are enjoying bigger crowds than usual because of increasing interest in rodeo and, too, because of the economy,” Palmer said. “People are looking for good family entertainment closer to home.

“To make the rodeo more affordable for families, last year we offered free tickets to children ages 11 and under and we’re doing the same thing this year.”

Advance tickets are $8 for adults and $10 at the gate. Advance tickets are available at all county banks, Byrd Drugs, Troy Split Ends, Expert Tire, Dunn’s True Value Hardware, Banks Buy-Rite, Pike Farmers Co-op. Don Walker’s Western Ware, Direct Tire, Goshen Farmers Co-op, Tonya’ Family Grocery. Cooperative Propane, The Messenger, Piggly Wiggly (Troy and Brundidge) and Ken Cox Ford.