Rodeo ropes in plenty of fans

Published 6:30 am Wednesday, September 15, 2010

The organizers of the Second Annual Port City Rodeo held this past weekend have judged it a big success, as anywhere between two and three thousand people turned out to watch the cowboys and cowgirls compete.

The rodeo competitors hailed from all over, including South Georgia, Alabama and North Florida, and as far away as Texas, said Ronnie Burke, the coordinator for the Decatur County Family Connection.

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For Family Connection, the service collaborative which organized the rodeo, the popularity of the rodeo means it will net several thousand dollars after cost to go toward its programs, which benefit Decatur County children and families.

“This being my first rodeo, I was very impressed, not only by how smoothly things went but also by the volunteer spirit it brought out in so many people,” said Burke, who was hired to succeed previous coordinator Ami Mejia this summer.

Burke estimated nearly 80 people volunteered their time and effort to pull off the rodeo on Friday and Saturday night at Daniel Barnard’s Super B Ranch off U.S. 27 North.

“It was heartwarming to see people who were just there to see the rodeo lend a hand afterwards with picking up trash along with our Family Connection volunteers,” said Burke, who noted the large number of children who were able to attend the rodeo. “We promote family values and bringing families together to have a good time and I think the rodeo achieved that.”

Family Connection is already planning an even better rodeo for next year, with the hope of building on its successful support of charitable work.

“The rodeo is something we want to become a permanent event here,” Burke said. “It accomplishes a lot of goals, from benefiting our work to boosting the local economy and providing a fun family activity.”

Southwest Georgia Farm Credit, which provided dozens of volunteers for the rodeo, was the event’s major sponsor. Other significant sponsors included the Dean Dodge dealership, WCTV, Aaron’s, WMGR, Flint Media and Larry and Sue Steiner.