Roping and riding was the focus of 150 cowboys and cowgirls at the Lake Martin Area Rodeo on Friday and Saturday.
The International Professional Rodeo Association held its semifinals rodeo at the Horse Riding Arena in the Charles E. Bailey Sportplex. The event’s proceeds benefitted the Boys & Girls Club of Lake Martin Area.
“We do it every year as a fundraiser,” said Melissa Reynolds, who is CEO of the Boys & Girls Club of the Lake Martin Area.
This organization has hosted the event for four years and this is the second year it has held it with the rodeo association.
“We’re glad to support the Boys & Girls Club,” J bar K Pro Rodeo Company contractor Kim Stewart said. “We’ve got lots of contestants here who come from all over the Southeast.”
The riders competed to qualify for world finals in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma in January.
Rider James Hughes won bareback riding; Scott Davis won saddle bronco riding; Bryan Green won bull riding; Kelly Nation placed first in barrel racing; Billy Berry and Shane Edmonson won team roping; Lee Hernandez won steer wrestling; Kendall Robertson placed first in cowgirls breakaway roping and Zac Wilson won calf roping.
The event also featured a petting zoo for children to feed camels, llamas, miniature horses and a bull.
“It’s a family fun weekend we put on every year,” Reynolds said. “It’s one of our easiest fundraisers that we do because once you get it set up the horses do the work.”
The rodeo’s audience has grown from 300 to 1,000 in the years the organization has hosted it, according to Reynolds.
“Last year they had about 90 entries as far as professional riders,” Reynolds said. “We have 150 this year, so the competition has grown.”
Reynolds said the rodeo helps fund the club’s summer and fall afternoon programs.
“I love the horses,” Reynolds said. “I love to see the kids get out there and do the boot shuffle and do the stick horse races. But I just love the horses and the cattle, the riding and the bull riding.”
Alexander City Horse Riding Club member Lisa Culligan brought her grandchildren Brynlee, 10, and Brix, 4, to the rodeo.
“(Brix) likes the roping and (Brynlee) likes the barrel racing,” Culligan said.
Culligan said the rodeo helps visitors realize where the arena is and there are plenty of equestrian activities the Alexander City Horse Riding Club does.
“There are so many different things that can happen here and go on here,” Culligan said. “It’s great and brings money for the community and brings in all the horse people. It’s a great thing.”
The rodeo is one of three fundraisers the Boys & Girls Club hosts, including a skeet shoot in March and a hamburger and steak dinner in August. Reynolds said she was thankful for the City of Alexander City and Alexander City parks and recreation department for helping.