Rodeo brings a little bit of everything

Published 8:11 pm Tuesday, June 5, 2012

MARION — Whether it’s professional cowboys competing for a large prize or a Marion local trying to get a start in the sport, this weekend’s 17th Annual Marion Rodeo should have it all.

Featuring competitors from Alabama, Georgia, Tennessee and elsewhere, the rodeo, which takes place this Friday and Saturday at the Marion Arena on Alabama Highway 14, will show audience members what it’s like to be a cowboy or a cowgirl and give them a sense of the lifestyle that Western heritage allows, said co-organizer Jennifer Hoggle.

“Sometimes you can go to the movies and you watch it and you think, ‘Why did I just sit through that whole movie?’ Hoggle said. “I don’t want them to think that. I want them to walk away from our rodeo and think, ‘Wow, that was awesome.’”

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Gates to the rodeo open at 6 p.m. both nights, and tickets cost $10 for adults, $5 for children ages 6-12 and are free for those 5-and-under. Proceeds will be donated to begin a crisis fund for the Perry County Fire Association.

“My husband and I have been doing this for 17 years now, and we really enjoy being able to bring something that we love, which is the rodeo, to our town,” Hoggle said. “It’s a professional rodeo, something that’s memorable, something you can talk about for a whole year and we’re having it right here in Marion.”

Children weighing less than 75 pounds will have an opportunity to ride sheep, and, beginning at 7:15 p.m., children can ride in the back of a pickup truck and throw beads to audience members.

“It’s kind of our own version of a Mardi Gras parade, just rodeo style,” Hoggle said.

Cowboys and cowgirls participating in this weekend’s rodeo are competing for a shot at prize money awarded early next year by the Professional Cowboy Association.

The top 15 contestants in the association move on to the finals, so a strong finish in this weekend’s rodeo is important for competitors seeking to bring home the NCA’s top prize.

The rodeo will also feature hometown rodeo clown Trent McFarland, a registered nurse who clowns on the side to help entertain people and help them forget the economic struggles they may be facing, Hoggle said.

Hoggle said she expects between 500 to 1,000 people to attend the rodeo each evening.

“The thing about rodeos is even though the schedules look the same for both nights, they’re not,” she said. “They’re totally different rodeos. It’s going to be a good time.”