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Volunteers getting ready for rodeo

A number of people are working hard this week to get everything ready for the 3rd Annual Port City Rodeo, which will be held this Friday and Saturday nights in Bainbridge.

Volunteers with Family Connection, the service organization which has put on the rodeo since 2009, have been busy out at the event site, in the Commodore Decatur Industrial Park off Dothan Road. Now that the rainy weather is gone, with cooler weather following in its stead, work by the volunteers and other community partners is ongoing to make the event an exciting success, said Ronnie Burke, executive director of Family Connection.

T Bar T, the professional rodeo company hired to produce the rodeo itself, is in town and will finish setting up the rodeo arena on Wednesday. The City of Bainbridge has brought in its tractors to help prepare the dirt site and put the bleachers rodeo fans will sit on into place. Borrowed equipment from John Deere is also being used, Burke said.

The City of Bainbridge is lending the rodeo trash cans and a dumpster, while Decatur County Prison inmates will help with the trash cleanup effort after the rodeo is done.

“It’s kind of inspiring how many people and organizations are pitching in to make this event happen,” Burke said. “I’ve gotten emails from community leaders and even people I’ve never met before asking how they can help.”

Other groups helping out include, but are not limited to, major rodeo sponsor Farm Credit and its employees, Bainbridge College faculty staff and students, and several local civic and community service organizations.

Ready for the rodeo?

An estimated 4,100 people attended the two-day rodeo last year, according to Burke.

Event planner Scott Ewing of First Port City Bank said there will be many fun activities for children and families at this year’s rodeo.

Before the rodeo starts at 7 p.m. each night, parents can pay a small amount to allow their children to ride a mechanical bull or ride a real pony. Free entertainment and games, such as face painting and a performance by dancers from Lucretia’s School of Dance, will also be in store for rodeo fans.

On Saturday night, principals from each of Decatur County’s elementary schools will try their best to grab a ribbon tied around a calf’s tail as it runs around the rodeo arena. Students will enjoy seeing their principal chasing after the calf, while the winning principal will get $500 for their school, Ewing said.

Main events in this year’s rodeo will include bull riding, calf roping, barrel racing, team roping, steer wrestling, girls’ break away roping, saddle bronc riding and bareback riding. Many of the competitors who are coming regularly participate in state and national rodeo events, so the excitement level should be high, Burke said.

Concessions, programs and rodeo T-shirts will also be for sale.

Advance tickets for the rodeo are $10 for adults and $5 for children. They can be purchased from either First Port City Bank branch, Headquarters in the Scott Street shopping center, the Chamber of Commerce and the Bainbridge Welcome Center on Dothan Road. Tickets will also be available at the gate on Friday and Saturday nights, for $2 more.

All of the rodeo’s proceeds will benefit Family Connection, a local service collaborative which provides several programs for family and children.

For more information, please visit the Port City Rodeo’s Web site.