SADDLE UP: Wayne Rabb Memorial Rodeo weekend starts Friday!

Published 4:12 pm Thursday, April 27, 2023

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NATCHEZ — Saddle up! The Wayne Rabb Memorial Rodeo takes place today and Saturday at the Johnson Arena, located at 200 Foster Mound Road.

Gates open at 6 p.m. nightly.

The annual rodeo, which has not taken place for three years because of the COVID-19 pandemic, is a local favorite featuring trick riders, rodeo clowns, rock climbing, a petting zoo and a variety of carnival food vendors.

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Tickets sold at the gate are $15 for anyone 13 and older and $8 for children between ages 8 and 13. Children under 8 attend free. Magnolia Bluff’s Casino, one of the event’s sponsors, is giving away $10 in free slot play with the purchase of an adult ticket.

“Our sponsors stepped up in a major way,” Adams County Sheriff Travis Patten said, “The casino and all of the auto dealerships between here and Winnsboro.”

Patten said all proceeds support the deputy sheriff’s fund, which is separate from Adams County Sheriff’s Office’s main operating budget.

“The money is used to purchase unbudgeted equipment items for the deputies that we may not have been able to get them,” Patten said. “Without having (a rodeo) for three years, we have felt the effects of that and it is very much needed.”

While there wasn’t a rodeo in 2020, the event was renamed for the late deputy Wayne Rabb who died unexpectedly from a reaction to a wasp sting in 2019. Before that, it was called the Adams County Sheriff’s Deputy Rodeo.

“We’re officially renaming it the Wayne Rabb Memorial Rodeo,” Patten said. A memorial stone and flags were previously placed outside the rodeo arena in Rabb’s honor.

“We are excited,” Patten said, adding after not having a rodeo for three years, “We are going all out for it. We have a lot of good acts coming.”

Some featured acts include Tim “Wild Thing” Lepard and the Team Ghost Riders and the Trixie Chicks Trick Riders.

Lepard, from north Mississippi, has trained monkeys to ride dogs and heard sheep. Lepard said he has partnered with Natchez Gymnastics and Cheerleading to incorporate local children in the act. Also featured are all the western favorites, including bull and bronc riding, calf roping, barrel racing and more, Patten said.

There will also be bicycle giveaways and a chance to win a $1,000 pot with the purchase of a $2 raffle ticket.

Patten said the rodeo would be broadcast on 95 Country and Mid-South Broadcasting, however, “There’s nothing like attending a rodeo in person.”

“It’s one of the best rodeos on this side of the Mississippi,” he said, “and it gives us a chance to fellowship with the community. I don’t see how a community can function without having a relationship with law enforcement. Our relationship with the community is strong and we want to make it stronger. We’ve been to every elementary school from here to Ferriday, giving away tickets so the kids can get in for free.

“We want families to know they don’t have to go to Baton Rouge or Jackson to have a good time. They can come right out to Foster Mound Road Friday and Saturday nights. It’s good, clean, family fun, with no alcohol and a lot of law enforcement there to enforce it.”