Country pair to headline 50th rodeo

Published 12:00 am Saturday, January 2, 2010

The 50th anniversary of Opp’s Rattlesnake Rodeo promises to be one of the biggest and best yet, event promoters said earlier this week.

The rodeo will be Fri., March 26, and Sat., March 27, at Channel-Lee Stadium in Opp. The headliner acts will be country music stars Luke Bryan, who will perform Friday night, and Billy Currington, who will perform Saturday.

“People who follow country music closely know a lot about these performers,” said Don Childre, Opp director of planning. “These are mainstream artists who have had a lot of success and will bring quality entertainment to our stage.”

The event is usually held in April, but was moved back a week because Easter is the first Sunday in April this year. The rodeo has become synonymous with Opp and includes events like rattlesnake races, dances and musical entertainment.

And this year will mark the return of an especially popular event, the rodeo’s beauty pageant.

“We haven’t had it in a couple of years, but we’re bringing it back this year,” Childre said. “It’s an event that has always brought a lot of interest.”

Applications are not yet available for the pageant, but they will be posted on the rodeo’s Web site ( as soon as possible.

Tonitta Sauls, executive director of the Opp & Covington County Chamber of Commerce, said another change for this year’s rodeo will be the addition of an extra stage.

“At one side of the football field, we’ll have our main stage,” she said. “That stage is where the headliners will perform, and there will be some big-screen TVs set up so that nearly everyone in the audience can see the performances. Then, at the other side of the field, we’ll have a smaller stage set up and there will be constant entertainment there.”

Sauls said local performers are welcome to e-mail her at, if they are interested in performing on the smaller stage.

Recently, Opp’s rodeo was selected as one of the “Top 10 State Tourism Events in 2010,” by the Alabama Department of Tourism. It was selected from a list of more than 1,300 events scheduled this year.

“We’re proud to have been selected for this list,” Sauls said. “We’re expecting these two days to bring in around 25,000 and 30,000 people, especially with the publicity we’re now going to get at the state level. And we’re going to be traveling all over the state promoting this as well; we expect at least double the attendance we had last year.”

Promoters said more news about the rodeo will be released in the coming months. More information is also available by visiting the rodeo’s Web site