Officials: Help keep rodeo finals in Andy

Published 12:00 am Saturday, June 11, 2011

Straughn’s Katie Beck is among those who will be competing in next week’s Alabama High School Rodeo Association finals. | File photo

Local rodeo officials are asking the community to show organizers of the Alabama High School Rodeo Association finals that Andalusia is the perfect home for the group’s annual rodeo.

If not, there’s a chance the finals could be moved to another location next year.

Community members can help by attending the rodeo finals and contributing money to the rodeo, said Debbie James, who is active in the rodeo and runs Touch of Country Western store.

The finals came to Andalusia in 2005, when the Covington Arena was selected over Montgomery’s Garrett Coliseum.

James said other areas such as Montgomery, Robertsdale and Troy are working hard to get the finals to come to their cities, while “support in Andalusia is drying up.”

“Other counties are offering to give their arenas for almost nothing,” she said.

Still, James said events such as the rodeo finals generate much-needed revenue for the community.

“It’s good for the restaurants; the hotels sell out; gas stations generate revenue, grocery stores, tire stores, air conditioner repair people get calls; propane businesses reap the benefits,” she said. “Families buy new trucks and trailers from Massey Automotive and Andalusia Ford. Really, every business is affected.”

James said the finals have the potential to bring an estimated 2,500 people to Andalusia; however, attendance levels are often less than that.

“We wish everyone would come together,” she said. “We are still anticipating a good number of people, but we are hoping for a sold out crowd.”

Local municipalities and the county commission have made large financial contributions to the rodeo finals, she said.

“It’s important that people realize that all the money goes back to the kids,” James said. “Rodeo kids go to college on scholarships.”

Of the 10-15 rodeos held annually in Alabama, three of them are held in Andalusia, James said.

“We’d also like to get the junior high finals back here,” she said. “Then we’d have people here for two weeks.”

The finals will be June 16 and begin at 7 p.m. nightly.

Admission is $10 for adults and children 12 and under are admitted free.

“It’s a good family-oriented activity,” James said.

Anyone interested in making a contribution to the rodeo finals can call 222-7400.

“Those who make contributions will be announced at the rodeo and will have a banner,” James aid.