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Rodeo weathers rain, draws good crowds

What’s a little rain to a cowboy?

Nothing.

What’s a little rain to a rodeo fan?

Not much.

So, the rain didn’t keep the cowboys and cowgirls away from the 2009 Pike County Cattlemen’s Association Professional Cowboy Association Championship Rodeo Friday and Saturday nights. Neither did it keep the rodeo fans away nor dampen their spirits.

“For a while Friday night it looked like we wouldn’t have much of a crowd but fans came drifting in and we ended up with a pretty good crowd – about the same as last year’s Friday night crowd, so we were pleased,” said Cattleman Bill Hixon. “Saturday night the crowd was much larger. It usually is. We had a good crowd both nights and some of the top competitors in the Southeast. It was a good rodeo.”

Johnny Garrett, Cattlemen president, said the crowd was much better than the Cattlemen could have hoped for with the state of economy, the continual rain and other events going on in the area.

“We want to thank everyone who came out and supported the Pike County Cattlemen’s PCA Championship Rodeo and the more than 250 competitors who were outstanding throughout the rodeo,” Garrett said. “We had professional competitors from seven states – Alabama, Tennessee, Georgia, Florida, North Carolina, Louisiana and Mississippi. We also had a large number of competitors from the area, from Montgomery to Ozark. We were glad to see so many local competitors this year.”

Garrett said the Cattlemen offer $600 in added money for each of the eight events and that’s attractive to a lot of competitors.

“The prize money is determined by the number of competitors and the added money,” he said. “We want to attract the top competitors so we offer a good amount of added money.”

Ronald Phillips of Ariton was one of the local competitors. He competed in team roping and said the Pike County Cattlemen’s rodeo is popular among the competitors because of the great facilities.

“It’s a big covered arena and it’s always well organized and the competition is good,” he said.

This year was the second that the Cattlemen have offered free admission to children 11 and under.

“We had a lot of children this year and they all seemed to have a good time,” Garrett said.

Hopefully, they will grow up to be rodeo fans and maybe some of them will be competitors.”

If nine-year-old Tyler Tyson of Brundidge is any indication, there will be plenty of rodeo fans to fill the stands in years to come and a lot of riders in the saddle.

Tyler was attending his fourth Cattlemen’s rodeo and said he plans to be back next year and he’ll ride his horse, Spot, in the Grand Entry.

“I really like the Grand Entry and I want to be in it next year and one day I want to be in the rodeo,” Tyler said. “I want to ride bulls. I’ve ridden a calf in the junior rodeo but I want to ride a bull when I get older.”

Bull riding is a rodeo favorite for many fans and Tyler noted that, for safety, many of the bull riders were wearing helmets that “looked like catchers’ helmets.” “If I ride a big bull, I’ll wear a helmet,” he said. “But … if it’s not a real big bull, I want to wear a cowboy hat.”

Slim the Rodeo Clown was a favorite among the kid and Tyler liked him, too.

“And, I liked the bronc riding. It was fun. I like the rodeo.”

The Pike County Cattlemen expressed appreciation to the sponsors of the 2009 PCA Championship Rodeo, First South Farm Credit, bare back riding; Stephens Auto, calf roping; Santa Fe Cattle Co., steer wrestling; Haisten, Shipman & Wiggins, P.C., saddle bronc riding; Linton Tractor Co., breakaway roping; Sunsouth, ladies barrels; Griffin Cabinets, team roping; and Don Walker Western Wear, bull riding.

Click here for pictures from Friday night’s rodeo.