JASPER, Ga. – Cowboys and cowgirls from all over the United States had the opportunity to enjoy the beautiful scenery of Jasper and Pickens County last Friday and Saturday nights as the Southern Rodeo Company brought the excitement back for the annual rodeo. At the corner of Hwy 515 and Hwy 108, the bleachers filled quickly with fans of all ages. Local businesses came together to sponsor this event with Sackett’s Western Wear being the mastermind.
Each night, eight events are held to narrow down the top competitors and award the prize money accordingly. These events are fun for all and include bareback bronc riding, saddle bronc, team roping, individual calf roping, ladies calf roping, barrel racing, steer wrestling and every fan’s favorite … the bulls. These competitors are also looking to move up in the National Rankings and qualify for the Finals at the end of the Rodeo season.
At the opening of each night, a majestic moment occurs as the American flag is escorted into the arena on horseback to the cheer of the crowd gathered. Rodeo staff, cowboys, cowgirls and, of course, the fans are some of the most patriotic people in the country. I’ve experienced many of these in my life and chill bumps still appear when the flag of our great nation is brought out to be honored with the singing of the National Anthem.
A highlight of the night is always our favorite rodeo clown. Hollywood Harris appears in the arena wearing oversized cut blue jeans and an absolutely horrid colored shirt with suspenders. With his cowboy hat and a little crazy make up, he is ready to bring tears of laughter and conversation to the crowd. Harris’ routine of comments and jokes keeps the fans entertained during the down times of riders preparing for their chance to compete. Some events are timed and some are scored. The timed events, such as barrel racing, steer wrestling and the roping, are based on the quickest time. In the scoring events of saddle bronc, bareback and bull riding, there are two judges with a maximum of 50 points each to be given (25 for the cowboy or cowgirl and 25 for the animal they are riding). The difficult part in these scoring events is that no one knows how the horse or bull will perform on any given night. Also in the scoring events, each rider must complete an eight-second ride before a score can be given.
Another great rodeo event has come and gone and the people of Pickens County are counting down the days until next year’s event.