County hoping for high school rodeo

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, September 3, 2003

The City of Andalusia has been working to bring a state finals rodeo championship to Covington County for junior high and high school students, according to Covington County Commission Chairman Greg White, of Andalusia.

Tuesday night the Andalusia City Council unanimously voted in support of funding from the Covington County Commission for the rodeo.

Andalusia Mayor Earl Johnson said the rodeo will be great publicity for the community.

Action to bring the rodeo to the Covington Center has progressed, said White.

"We are not in the really, early stages of the rodeo," said White.

"We've been working on this for about two years now.

This is just one of many things that we're trying to bring (to the community)."

Approximately $300,000 will be used for the rodeo if it is approved by the commission, White said.

"We will ask the cities of Andalusia, Opp, and Florala about helping us," White said.

"An event like this is going to need community support, and by 'community,' I mean the county.

"It's significant to include the county, because the county's going to benefit (from the rodeo).

The cities' mayors will all have to be in agreement and lined up in support."

White added he has not heard of anything negative about the rodeo.

Only good can come from the project, he said.

"There will be two primary focuses of the rodeo," White said.

"First, the focus will be on the visitors of the county.

Second, we will provide an activity for youth to participate in."

The Babe Ruth baseball tournament last month drew approximately $125,000 to $150,000 in revenue for the community, Johnson said.

White said the idea of a rodeo did not come from the success of the tournament, however.

"We had talked about the rodeo long before there were ever talks about the Babe Ruth championship," White said. "I imagine there will be an estimated amount of $250,000 direct impact.

That's a conservative number, and I think it's fair to say that," White said.

The Covington Center is an indoor arena with a maximum capacity of about 2,500, according to White.

He added there will be approximately 3,000 visitors during the finals, and the finals are scheduled to last Tuesday through Sunday.

White said the finals will require all of Alabama's participation, and he expects the community response to be favorable.

"Our hope is to become the home of the Rodeo State Finals (for junior and high school students)."