Rodeos bring extra revenue locally

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, June 3, 2015

David’s Catfish House is one of the local businesses that benefits from the rodeo. | Andrew Garner/Star-News

David’s Catfish House is one of the local businesses that benefits from the rodeo. | Andrew Garner/Star-News

The Alabama Junior Rodeo Association and the Alabama High School Rodeo Association will be holding their state finals at the Covington Center Arena over the next two weeks, and with it brings a big economic impact on the City of Andalusia.

Local hotel managers say that their dwellings aren’t full, which could be because most rodeo contestants travel with trailers with living quarters.

David’s Catfish Manager Crystal Knowles said the restaurant hosts a senior dinner for contestants, which brings in 35-50 people, including parents.

“It’s really good for us,” Knowles said about the rodeos.

Knowles said she will staff an extra two to four girls to help with the big rush.

“They come in with their parents,” she said. “We love to see them coming.”

Touch of Country Owner Debbie James said the rodeos help her store a lot.

“They buy a little bit of everything; boots, hats, jeans, horse tack, saddles and bridles,” James said.

James said the store plans three months ahead of when the rodeos come into town to get ready.

“We try to get the store stocked up with inventory,” she said.

James said the rodeos help her business get through the summer because most of her customers don’t buy jeans as it gets hotter.

“As the weather changes, the girls don’t buy as many jeans, and I don’t do as much lady business as I do with men,” she said.

James said the economic impact of the events benefit a lot of businesses in Andalusia.

“For five or six days, there are families here with kids,” she said. “Most families have not one or two, but most are four and six. If people come to town, and they have a flat tire, they’ll either go to Barnes Tires, or they visit any of our tire places. They’ve been in and bought vehicles at Massey Automotive.

“All gas stations provide people, whether it’s ice or drinks,” she said. “Every fast food restaurant in town gets business. One of the largest is Little Caesars.

“Everything they come here to do, it benefits the city,” she said.

Massey Automotive Service Manager Chris Little said during the two-week period, his shop will see people who have issues with their vehicles.

“Usually it’s someone pulling a trailer and they just need some help,” Little said.

Little said visitors will have their normal maintenance done on their vehicles, including oil changes, checking and fixing tires, and just anything that needs to be fixed.

Little said he has eight people on staff who can work on vehicles.

Alan Lindsey of Andalusia Ford said they see a lot of people looking at horse trailers and trucks on rodeo weekends.

“I think we are the only Featherlite trailer dealer in the state,” he said. “For some folks, this is a great opportunity for them to check out our selection of trucks.”

Lindsey said that they keep a larger selection of truck inventory.

“We have traded for several trucks during rodeo weekends,” he said. “Some of that could be because the Owen family was involved in rodeos.”

Lindsey said that some people come from states away to purchase trailers even after rodeo.

Service is another draw for rodeoers.

“Sometimes people who have pulled a trailer a long way experience a service issue and we are able to fix it,” he said.