Each night’s action starts at 7:30 and features the following events: bull riding, bareback bronc riding, saddle bronc riding, cowgirls’ barrel racing, cowgirls’ breakaway roping and team roping.
It is sanctioned by the International Pro Rodeo Association, which is the second largest association in the United States and the largest sanctioning body east of the Mississippi. The IPRA also sanctions events out west with the riders, ropers and racers earning points this weekend toward the International Finals Rodeo in Oklahoma City in January.
Hedrick Rodeo Company, out of White Pine, is the stock contractor for the event and owner Danny Hedrick promises a lot of close competition. Knoxville’s Cody Brewer, who won a PBR Touring Event in Elmira, N.Y., in April, and Athens cowgirl Kyla Matthews, currently ranked No. 2 in the world in breakaway roping, are among those entered.
There is also South Carolina rider Harold Miller, who is recognized as one of the best African-American cowboys of all-time as a multiple-time champion of both bareback and saddle bronc competition.
“Cody Brewer, he’s the Southeastern Pro champ and someone who has ridden on the PBR Built Ford Tough Tour,” Hedrick said. “He’s a true top-15-in-the-world bull rider. There’s also Harold Miller, who’s the oldest bareback rider around. He’s a multi-time champion and still going strong. He’s an inspiration for anyone over 50 years old.”
TENNESSEE, HOME OF CHAMPIONS
A trio of cowboys and cowgirls from Tennessee were crowned IPRA world champions at last year’s International Finals Rodeo, while the overall champion, Justin Thigpen, came from neighboring Georgia. It was a record-setting year for Thigpen, who won his eighth consecutive IPRA tie-down calf roping title.
The Tennessee-based world champions were Corey Bailey, a 26-year-old bullrider from Puryear; Quinton Parchman, a 22-year-old team roping header from Cumberland City; and Jodi Colton, a 21-year-old barrel racer from Manchester. Colton’s title was remarkable in that she actually came from an English riding background, which is more on show than the barrel racers’ go.
Tickets to each day’s rodeo are $15 for adults, $8 for children ages 6-12 and $5 for children ages 3-5.