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    10th Anual Gainesville Pro Rodeo


    This past weekend, Sept. 15 and 16, was the Southern Rodeo Company’s 10th annual “Gainesville Pro Rodeo” hosted by the Assembly of Praise Church in Lula, Georgia. The event took place at Chicopee Woods Agricultural Center in Gainesville. Gates opened at 6pm and the crowds poured in on cue, although the event itself didn’t commence until 8pm.

    The arena was packed, despite two extra sets of bleachers being assembled for the rodeo spectators. Chicopee Woods Agricultural Center typically seats around 2,500 guests, but with the extra bleachers and standing room, this highly anticipated event saw upwards of 4,000 guests both nights.

    Rodeos are famously patriotic. The entertainment was preceded with a prayer, recognition of all military service members, and the singing of the United States National Anthem.

    Vendors were present selling food, drinks, and merchandise throughout the evening. There was a petting zoo and pony rides available, as well as a mechanical bull for all who are young at heart.

    Most guests came dressed in their jeans, boots, and cowboy hats to see several adrenaline-inducing rodeo events, which included saddle bronc riding, tie-down roping, team roping, break-away roping, barrel racing and bull riding. Additionally, “the Painted Ladies” performed. They’re a trick-riding duo, executing daring stunts like standing on the saddle, riding backwards in the saddle, and hanging from the saddle by one leg, all as their horses raced around the perimeter of the arena. As is customary in any rodeo, the time between each competitor’s ride throughout the evening was filled by the jokes and skits put on by a rodeo clown named “Colt 45”.

    Although each rodeo event is entertaining, the saddle broncs and bull riding garnered the most excitement from the crowds. In each of these events, in order to qualify for a score, the rider must ride for eight seconds on the back of a bull or a wild horse called a bronco. The rider gets on the animals back in a small chute, once on, a flank strap is put on around the animal’s abdomen that causes them to buck in an attempt to relieve the pressure. The bulls are heavier and come down hard with each buck. They spin their bodies as they stomp and kick, challenging the rider with incredible centrifugal force. The broncs move much faster and have more flexion in their mid-section, enabling more rapid vertical movements that the rider must react to and counter with incredible core-strength in order to stay in the saddle. At the end of their eight seconds, if they haven’t been thrown, a “pick up rider” will come up alongside the competitor to help him off the bronco. These are the most dangerous events in the rodeo and can be fatal even for seasoned riders.

    Thanks to skilled bull fighters, teamwork and luck, no cowboys were seriously hurt in the weekend’s events in Gainesville. Hall County Fire and Rescue paramedics were present to ensure a quick response if anything were to have gone wrong for competitors or spectators.

    “One of those bucking broncos came right out of the chute rearing and bucking, it was pretty intense. I thought for sure he (the rider) was gonna go down but he hung in there for the whole eight seconds.” said first time rodeo spectator, Tre Smith

    At the end of the night, spectators spilled out of the arena. To avoid the growing lines of cars waiting their turn to pull out of the parking lot, many stayed clustered in small groups discussing the events of the night. Marissa Ragsdale, who attended with her family, said “This was my step-daughters first rodeo and she loved it so it was really fun to see her react to everything.”


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