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Cowboy up!

Cody Harris competes in the calf roping competition during the 2011 Professional Cowboy Association Rodeo at the Pike Cattlemen's Association in Troy, Ala., Friday, May 27, 2011. (Messenger Staff Photo/Thomas Graning)

Rodeo stampedes into Troy

The 19th annual Pike County Cattlemen’s Association Professional Cowboy Rodeo opened in grand style Friday night with fast action in the arena, a hilarious clown named Pork Chop and a daring trick rider whose performance was worth the price of admission.

Chris Chandler, Cattlemen’s association president, said Friday night’s crowd was better than last year’s and a record crowd is expected tonight.

“Saturday night is always the bigger crowd,” Chandler said. “We’ve got a great bunch of cowboys and cowgirls competing and it’s a great rodeo.”

Pork Chop the Clown and trick rider, Kristy Lei Harris, were new to the Pike County rodeo and quickly became fan favorites.

“They both really put on a show and we are so excited to have them,” Chandler said. “The rodeo is good clean, family entertainment so we encourage everyone to come out tonight and join the fun.

“We’ve got lots of things just for the kids — pony rides, the climbing wall and the bungee jump. And, one of the highlights of the rodeo is the calf scramble.”

The gates open at 6 p.m. and the rodeo gets underway at 7:30 p.m. with the Grand Entry.

“All of the contestants participate in the Grand Entry, along with the Cattlewomen’s Rodeo Pageant winners and any spectators who want to join in,” Chandler said. “We’ve got hamburgers – 100 percent beef Angus burgers – hotdogs, snack items and soft drinks at the concession stand so you won’t go hungry out here.”

Tickets are $10 for ages 13 and older. Children 12 and under are admitted free. All tickets are sold at the gate.

The PCA Rodeo is the Pike County Cattlemen’s biggest fundraiser and all of the proceeds go back into the county.

“We support the agricultural and cattle industries in many ways,” Chandler said. “We are, within two members, of being the largest Cattlemen’s association in the state and plan on being number one again by the registration deadline on June 31. We have a large and very active Cattlewomen’s Association. We couldn’t do most of the things we do without them.”

The Pike County Cattlemen support the local 4-H program, sponsor a county and regional calf show and the annual Ranch Rodeo.

“The Ranch Rodeo is one of the most popular events that we sponsor,” Chandler said. “The Ranch Rodeo features events that are based on everything that you would normally do on a ranch, such as loading trailers and tossing hay bales. It’s a lot of fun for participants and spectators.”

The PCA Rodeo started 19 years ago in an open field and now is held in the state of the art arena at Cattleman Park.

The Pike County Cattlemen’s Association also sponsors the Pike County Junior Cattlemen’s Association. The Cattlewomen give several scholarships each year.

“When you attend the Pike County Cattlemen’s PCA Rodeo you are supporting these fine athletes and also the youth in Pike County and our agricultural industry,” Chandler said. “So come on out tonight, bring the family and enjoy a great rodeo.”