By Tamara Tellis/Staff Writer
Years ago, the Boys and Girls Clubs of Northeast Alabama created a fun and southern-themed way of raising money for the children.
The tradition continues this year, as the club hosts its 39th Annual Rodeo behind the Basil Gilchrist Unit located at 600 Black Creek Road in Gadsden. The event begins at 8 p.m.
“It’s a professional rodeo with professional cowboys and cowgirls,” said Basil Gilchrist Unit Chief Professional Officer Pam Dawson. “They are riding to go on to finals and I believe the finals this year will be in Birmingham. There will be bareback bronc riding, calf roping, barrel racing, steer wrestling, team roping and, of course, everybody’s favorite, bull riding.”
All proceeds from the event will benefit the Boys and Girls Clubs of Northeast Alabama.
“This is one of our major fundraisers to help us keep a safe and positive place for our kids to be,” said Dawson. “We just got surveys back that 96 percent of our children feel like they will go on to college and 64 percent felt like they would get a four-year degree. We are real excited about that, and that is what these fundraisers do. They allow us to have the and the things we need to make sure that these children have everything that they need for a brighter future, to keep on after their high school years, to complete high school and to further their education.”
In addition to the professional rodeo show, the event includes food vendors, a train ride for the kids and perhaps even a little treat for the thrill seekers.
“We are still trying to get a mechanical bull,” said Dawson. “I think we’re going to have a mechanical bull there. Trading Post will be a vendor, so you can get western wear for the rodeo. Food concessions and The Perfect Pucker lemonade will be there.”
Around 3,000 people are expected to attend the event, which will go on no regardless of the weather conditions.
“It’s a rain or shine thing,” said Dawson. “If it is raining, it may be postponed to a later time, but we will have a rodeo. It be honest, if you rodeo, you say rain. It usually rains on us a little bit every year.”
Advance ticket prices are $10 for adults and $5 for children. At the gate, tickets are $15 for adults and $10 for kids. Children ages six and younger are admitted free of charge.
“The first reason [people should attend] is to support the Boys and Girls Club and make sure that we can help these children,” said Dawson. “Second, [it’s] just to have a good time. It’s not highly priced. It’s fairly reasonable. Family can come and enjoy the show. Children six and under are free, so it’s not all that expensive to come for a real good professional rodeo. Come out for the fun.”
For more information or to purchase tickets, call 256-546-KIDS (5437) or visit www.bgcnea.org.