Rotary Classic Rodeo attracts largest crowd ever

Rider J.C. Hester, Jr. competes at the Rotary Classic Rodeo over the weekend (photo: Sarah Raines, SDN)
Staff Writer

The Rotary Classic Rodeo is estimated to have attracted 6,000 people on Friday and Saturday night.

John Forde, a member of the Starkville Rotary Club, said that around 3,000 people watched the rodeo each night. The local Boy Scouts helped with parking and Cub Scouts handed out programs to those who attended.

Forde said the past few rodeos each raised around $20,000 for the Rotary.

Both nights entailed traditional rodeo events. There was bull riding, steer wrestling, bareback riding, tie-down roping, saddle bronc riding, team roping and barrel racing.

Saturday night kicked off with a petting zoo and pony rides for children.

Participants from all over the United States competed in the events, and even one man from Mexico participated in the bull riding competition.
"I like the bull riding and the calf rolling," said Timmy Guy, an attendee. "I enjoy going to the rodeo."

Meagan Knox, another attendee, came to Starkville for the rodeo with family.

"We came tonight for my nephew's birthday," Knox said. "We go to the rodeo in Jackson every year … We're heading there on Monday."

The rodeo is the Rotary's largest fund raiser and raises funds for events that the club does throughout the year.

"Every member of the Rotary has to work the rodeo the first year," Forde said. "They told me that and I asked, 'You mean I get to work the rodeo?' I love the rodeo."

Around 40 members worked the event this weekend, from concessions to taking tickets. This year was the biggest turnout the rodeo has ever seen.

Friday night, there were 90 participants. Saturday, 85 participants rode, roped, or wrestled in the Mississippi Horse Park's arena.