Thursday, July 7, 2005

Byhalia Clydesdale Festival rodeo draws top cowboys

Staff Writer

A larger purse drew 240 cowboys from nine states to the Byhalia Clydesdale Christmas Store Festival rodeo for the two nights performance June 24-25, according to Jerry Bolden, rodeo operator.

The rodeo is being invited back again next year the same weekend, and Bolden expects it to continue to attract top contenders.

“This Byhalia rodeo has the potential to be one of the best rodeos in the region,” he said. “Extra prize money was a big selling point in attracting the top cowboys. Payoff for the two nights was $20,000.”

Bolden said points count toward the championship rodeo competition in the Deep South finals held in Booneville in November.

Bolden said he formed the Deep South Rodeo Association in November 2003 and held the first finals in Booneville in November 2004. With Deep South in its second full year, membership has outstripped his grandest hopes with a membership today of over 300 members, including cowboys and personnel.

Bolden puts on 35 rodeos a year with about 20 being held in Mississippi and the rest in surrounding states in cities like Millington, Tenn., the West Tennessee State Fair coming up September 18, the Mt. Hope, Ala., rodeo set for August 5-6, the Tippah County Fair in August and the Tishimingo County Fair.

His rodeo plays for fund-raisers for civic organizations and fairs and goes wherever the invitation is extended.

“Rodeo has gotten to be popular and just took off this year like nothing I’ve ever seen,” he said.

He attributes renewed interest in rodeo and the equestrian arts to growing family interest in clean fun.

“We cater toward a family event,” Bolden said.

Deep South Rodeo Association is growing partly because of the need of cowboys to make direct contact quickly and conveniently to set their schedule at the first of the week.

Bolden said many of his association members are very busy and successful business men and women who prefer to talk directly to the rodeo organizer to set their schedules and rodeo routes rather than signing up for rodeos over the Internet.

“They can talk directly to me and it’s easier for them to get their schedules set that way than using the Internet,” he said. “A lot of these guys will make two or three rodeos a week. Participation is increasing because cowboys are able to make a direct phone call and can get entered on the date they can show up. We try to help them.”

Bolden said convenience is also a factor in the growth of the Deep South Rodeo Association. Members can choose among events within convenient travel distance to their ranches since the rodeos are so close together, he said. That means they can make more events and fuel costs are easier on the budgets since so many rodeos are held in easy driving distance from home.

Bolden is excited about the Clydesdale Festival and believes it can become a very big rodeo draw for his Deep South cowboys.

“This is the third rodeo we’ve had this year in the Holly Springs area and in most areas where you have that many events you have interest declining by the third event,” he said.

“But the Clydesdale, the third, was the biggest event. And we expect to have between 3,000 and 4,000 to attend the Knotty Bolden Rodeo July 15-16.

Bolden said cooperation from newspapers that do advance stories and follow-up stories helps keep interest alive.

“We’ve done a survey at the Knotty Bolden Rodeo the last five years and ask where they heard about the rodeo and the majority say the Pigeon Roost News. Some will say The South Reporter.”

Winners in the Clydesdale Festival rodeo were:

Bareback Bronc

  • 1st Place - Jimmy Patterson, Prairie
  • 2nd Place - John Patrick, Eads, Tenn.
  • 3rd Place - Smiley Philips, Ft. Worth, Texas

Calf Roping

  • 1st Place - Cliff Goodrich, Humbolt, Tenn.
  • 2nd Place - John Toole, Hernando
  • 3rd Place - Corey Shubert, Russellville, Ala.
  • 4th Place - Clay Parker, Rogers, Ala.

Cowgirls Barrel Racing

  • 1st Place - Gina Woods, Reagin, Tenn.
  • 2nd Place - Jennifer Baron, Trenton, Tenn.
  • 3rd Place - Amy Stafford, Hernando
  • 4th Place - Jessica Moore, Bells, Tenn.

Team Roping

  • 1st Place - Jed Riley and Brian Woods, Okolona
  • 2nd Place - Clayton Zwerschke and Jay Turner, Oakland
  • 3rd Place - Rob Wooten, Pontotoc, and Boyd Quimby, Murray, Ky.
  • 4th Place - Andy Lindley, Tupelo, and Jess Davis, Okolona.

Bull Riding

  • 1st Place - Cody Rhoda, Memphis, Tenn.
  • 2nd Place - Shane McGregor, Holly Springs
  • 3rd Place - Bryan Dowdy, Pontotoc
  • 4th Place - A tie between Jay Henderson, Millington, Tenn., and Will Rogers Sr., Potts Camp.

The 21st Knotty Bolden Memorial Rodeo is scheduled for July 15-16 at J Bar B Ranch on Highway 7 North.

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