Western Festival now offering free admission for children

Published 9:48 pm Thursday, August 21, 2014

The best things in life are free.

The Pike County Cattlemen know and believe that. They are offering free admission to elementary school-aged children at the Western Festival at the Cattlemen’s PCA Rodeo Saturday night at Cattleman Park.

About 3,700 free-admission tickets have been distributed at area schools. Parents are encouraged to bring their kids and enjoy family Saturday night at the rodeo.

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The Western Festival is an opportunity for affordable family fun, and it’s also an opportunity to introduce kids to rodeo.

Rodeo is great entertainment, and it’s as American as it gets, said Ed Whatley, executive director of the Pike County Cattlemen’s Association.

“We want kids to know about the rodeo and learn to enjoy it at an early age so they will be the rodeo fans of the future,” he said.

The Western Festival will begin at 5 p.m. Saturday in the arena. The gates open at 4:30.

“The Cattlemen have an afternoon of Western fun planned for the kids,” Whatley said. “Kids have always liked to play cowboys and this is an opportunity for them to play cowboys ‘for real.’ They can participate in stick horse races. They can rope stationary steer heads and they can even try mutton bustin’. I don’t know of many kids that wouldn’t like to try to ride a buckin’ bronco. Mutton bustin’ is the next best thing.”

There will also be free wagon and buggy rides outside the arena. The pony rides and the mechanical bull are not part of the Western Festival and there will be a charge to ride those.

“A special event of the Western Festival on Saturday will be the Buck-A-Roo contest,” Whatley said. “It’s encouragement for the kids to come dressed in their Western attire.”

The Buck-A-Roo contest is so informal the young cowboys and cowgirls won’t even realize they are in a contest.

“The judges will just walk around during the Festival. Then, they will get together and decide which kids are best-dressed as cowboys and cowgirls,” Whatley said. “They will narrow it down and finally choose the Buck-A-Roos.”

The winners of the Buck-A-Roo contest will be presented to the rodeo audience at intermission and will also represent the Cattlemen in the Nutter Butter Parade at the annual Peanut Butter Festival in Brundidge the last Saturday in October.

The Benton Brothers and Company will be in concert at the Western Festival from 5:30 until 6:30 p.m. and the parents of the kids will be well entertained, Whatley said.

“Those who enjoy bluegrass gospel music at its best will want to come early Saturday and enjoy the Benton Brothers and Company.”

The Pike County Cattlemen’s PCA Rodeo Weekend opens 7 p.m. tonight at Cattleman Park. The Sweet Young’Uns will perform following the rodeo. Tickets are $12 in advance and $15 at the door. Children ages six and under will be admitted free.

Tickets for the Saturday night rodeo will be $10 in advance and $12 at the door. Advanced tickets are available at Walkers Western Wear, Cattleman Park, TB&T locations and Brundidge/Troy Piggly Wiggly.