Why Sponsor A Rodeo????
So just imagine. You have just been elected to your first term of office as Sheriff. You have few patrol cars, and the least mileage on the best of the fleet, exceeds 260,000 miles. You are taking office in the middle of the fiscal year, the budget is already expended, and though sympathetic, your Commissioners cannot increase your appropriations until the following year.
That was how Mike Blakely began his duties as Sheriff of Limestone County, 33 years ago. Soon after, Preston Fowlkes of Lone Star Rodeo Company contacted Sheriff Blakely to try to locate a sponsor for a community rodeo. Since that time, the Limestone Sheriff’s Rodeo has purchased 34 fully equipped patrol cars, at no cost to the taxpayers.
Funds also support training for all department employees, helicopter expenses, special equipment and response team activities. The success of the annual rodeo has also resulted in the purchase of the arena grounds and all its facilities. The public now utilizes the facilities for various civic functions 12 months out of the year.
In addition, it provides a positive economic impact for the entire community. “When competitors from all over the country come to Athens, they eat in restaurants, buy gas, shop in local stores, purchase feed and necessities for their animals, stay in local motels, and in general, spend money in Athens. All of Limestone County benefits,” said Sheriff Blakely.
“We are proud to host the largest outdoor rodeo east of the Mississippi. And we are very grateful to have been selected by the Southeast Tourism Society as one of the “Top Twenty Tourism Events” in the southeast. In addition, we were selected as the “Event of the Year” by the Alabama Mountain Lakes Tourist Association and were presented their prestigious PEAK Award. We have also been recognized by the Professional Cowboy Association for two consecutive years as ‘Rodeo of the Year’. We now offer prize money in excess of fifty thousand dollars and attract some of the finest cowboy and entertainment talent from all over the nation”, added Blakely.
“We try to provide a fun filled event packed with family entertainment and fierce competition in all of the rodeo events. This year we are proud to return to the International Professional Rodeo Association (IPRA). This sanction will mean more competitors from all over the US and Canada, and will mean more prize money at stake for the winners. On May 20 and 21st, from pony rides for the kids, to professional bull riders from all over the country, it promises to be entertaining. It is also humbling to see this entire community support our efforts to provide superior, responsive law enforcement to the people of Limestone County. This event makes much of that possible, and we are grateful for everyone’s continued participation”, added Blakely.
For more information, visit www.limestonesheriffrodeo.com, or contact the Sheriff’s Office at 256-232-0111.