Cowboys, cowgirls will convene for annual event

Published 12:05 am Sunday, May 17, 2015

FILE PHOTO — Rodeo fans stand for the national anthem before the 2014 Adams County Sheriff’s Deputy Rodeo. The event will include everything from bronco busting to bullfighting.

FILE PHOTO — Rodeo fans stand for the national anthem before the 2014 Adams County Sheriff’s Deputy Rodeo. The event will include everything from bronco busting to bullfighting.

More than 200 professional cowboys and cowgirls will mosey into Natchez this month to compete in the area’s largest annual rodeo.

The fifth Adams County Sheriff’s Deputy Rodeo will be May 29 and 30 at the Wayne Johnson Arena.

The gates will open at 4 p.m. both days, with pre-rodeo entertainment starting at 7:30 p.m. and competitions starting at 8 p.m.

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Admission is $10 for children and $12 for adults, though tickets purchased in advance will receive a $2 discount.

The event is an official competition, and all earnings at the Adams County rodeo count toward the Tri-State Rodeo Association finals.

Rodeo Producer Robbie Thomas said this year the event will be different in that both nights are separate rodeos.

“It’s always been a two-day rodeo, where the cowboys come in Friday, compete and leave,” Thomas said. “This year, by doing two one-night rodeos, hopefully the cowgirls and cowboys will stay and do both rodeos because both will count toward the Tri-State final.”

Competitions in this year’s rodeo will include bareback riding, saddle vault, calf roping, team roping, breakaway roping, steer wrestling and bull riding.

But one of the biggest events in the rodeo this year will be the return of the bullfighting competition, Thomas said.

“This was our biggest crowd pleaser last year,” he said. “The guy actually fights the bulls for a minute-and-a-half and is judged by professional judges by how well they worked the bull, how close they got to it without getting hit.”

The event is American-style bullfighting rather than Mexican style, Thomas said, which requires more skill because the fighter is often working with a skilled, healthy bull.

“In Mexican bullfighting, they are often bled and abused before the matador ever goes before them, and the bull is killed,” Thomas said.

“Any bull that learns any tricks (in a fight) isn’t going to do him any good because he is going to die at the end of the fight. But in American-style, they get older and smarter, so in American there is a lot more danger than the matadors in (Mexico).”

In addition to the competition, entertainment will include the Trixie Chicks trick riding group, a group of female riding performers who perform stunts on galloping horses.

It will also feature the famed champion rodeo clown Rudy Burns — known as “the man in the can” — who is a Smithdale resident.

Pre-rodeo entertainment will include pony rides, bungee jumps, mechanical bulls and the gold rush dig for children, among other things.

The rodeo serves as a fundraiser for the Adams County Sheriff’s Deputies Fund, which is administered by a committee of deputies.

Sheriff Chuck Mayfield said the deputies use the money to make purchases they might not otherwise be able make without dipping into taxpayer funds.

In the past, the proceeds were used to replace shotguns and purchase computers. The funds may also be used for such things as sending flowers when an employee is sick or bereaved, he said.

“We do this so we don’t have to ask the (county) supervisors for extra when (deputies) need new equipment,” Mayfield said. “But we also enjoy doing it because it is a community activity, a family-friendly event, and we are trying to foster this family-friendly atmosphere.”

Adams County Search and Rescue will be operating the concession stand at the rodeo, and the proceeds from the concessions will go to support search and rescue efforts. In the past, the rodeo concession proceeds have been used to help fund a new motor for the search and rescue boat.

Tickets can be purchased in advance at the Adams County Sheriff’s Office at 306 State St., in Natchez.

For more information, call 601-442-2752.