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Port City Rodeo judged a success

This past weekend’s Port City Rodeo was an all-around success, generating good entertainment and much-needed charitable funds at the same time, according to people involved with the event.

The rodeo, organized by the Decatur County Family Connection service collaborative and sponsored by a number of local businesses and individuals, drew large crowds on both Friday and Saturday nights, despite rainy weather on the second night, said Dan Provence, chairman of Family Connection’s board and a member of the rodeo’s organizing committee.

Provence said it was estimated anywhere from 1,200 to 1,500 people were at the County Fairgrounds Friday night to see the rodeo, enough to make it a “standing room only” event. While rain likely led to a smaller crowd on Saturday night, the rodeo’s second night still managed to attract a crowd of several hundred people, he said.

While Family Connection hasn’t finished tallying up its proceeds from the rodeo, Provence and others said they believed it was successful both as a refreshing form of local entertainment and in meeting the group’s goals of raising money for its community-focused programs.

Richard Monson, president and CEO of Southwest Georgia Farm Credit, said it appeared everyone at the rodeo was having fun, a good feeling he said was enhanced by supporters’ knowledge that the event proceeds will help the Bainbridge community.

“We’re agricultural lenders, so for me, the whole aspect of the rodeo featuring people working closely with well-trained animals was exciting to watch,” Monson said.

More than a dozen employees of Farm Credit, one of the rodeo’s major sponsors, were glad to help out at the fairgrounds during both nights, said Monson, who added he plans to support a planned second annual Port City Rodeo next year.

Bainbridge City Councilwoman Roslyn Palmer, a Family Connection partner, said she enjoyed the rodeo and was pleased with its success.

“I think it was a win-win for the community,” Palmer said. “The rodeo provided good family entertainment and at the same time boosted Family Connection’s budget at a time when it needed to replace funds it had lost.”

Family Connection, a service group that is comprised of volunteer partnerships all across Georgia, has created programs that address the needs of local children and families, especially the education and welfare of children. Seeing the active work of the volunteers at the rodeo impressed Palmer.

“If you were to have looked around at the volunteers, they came from all walks of life,” Palmer said. “It was very nice to see people working together.”

Provence thanked the rodeo’s sponsors and its volunteers for their help, and also said he appreciated the participation of the rodeo riders.

“It was really competitive in the rodeo ring, you could tell the riders really wanted to win,” Provence said. “It was about much more than just putting on a show for them.”

The rodeo’s steering committee, who planned and brought the event to fruition in just about four months’ time, was comprised of Provence, Decatur County Family Connection Coordinator Ami Mejia, Dit Albritton, Evelyn Clay, Scott Ewing, Allison Harrell, Debbie McIntyre, Connie Snyder and Sue Steiner.