Enjoy a fun night at the Walters State Great Smoky Mountains Expo Center Feb. 20 when Walters State’s Ag Club hosts its first Ranch Rodeo. The event kicks off at 7 p.m. Ranch rodeos are based on real-life farming. Instead of riding bulls, teams compete in several categories of “farm chores.” This year’s tasks range from donkey rides to milking a wild cow. The event also features some friendly competition between FFA chapters and a chance for audience members to get in on the fun.
Roger Brooks, head of Walters State’s agriculture program and advisor to the Ag Club, said the event promises fun for both old farmhands and city folks.
“You’re going to see people doing the work that actually takes place on a ranch. What you’ll see is just how difficult and how challenging some chores can be and the results are pretty entertaining,” Brooks said.
Brooks said all of the chores do not directly respond to things that happen on a farm, but use skills developed on the farm.
Competing teams this year are NAPA Car Par Parts sponsored by NAPA, the Greene Team sponsored by Greene’s Trailer and Treadway Equine, the Hangin’ Tree, the Marshall (N.C.) Boys, the Dynamites sponsored by Dandridge Pennzoil, Hurst and Fisher sponsored by Hurst Trailer, The Mulberry Gap Team, the Broken Spoke Bunch, the Hubcaps, the Cross’n the Gap Cowboy Church Team, and the Rolling Hills Arena Team sponsored by Lee County Animal Hospital, Marcum Oil and the Lee County Livestock Market.
FFA chapters from Sevier, Cocke and Jefferson Counties as well as from
Grainger County High School and Morristown-Hamblen High School East will compete
for prize money in a pig relay, a calf lead-and-push and a goat drive. Audience members
can win some cash in the event’s egg toss. Two calf ribbon chases will be held, one for ages 5-8 and one for ages 9-11. This year will also feature a stick horse race with two age divisions. Stick horses will be provided for children that need one.
Brooks noted that care has been taken to make sure no animals are harmed during the Ranch Rodeo. For example, calves will be “branded” with paint. A veterinarian will be present throughout the event.
The Ranch Rodeo is part of the Ag Club Winter Horse Series, which marks its 11th year in 2009. Proceeds fund scholarships for agriculture students. Since its inception, over $60,000 has been raised. The series is sponsored by Jefferson Federal and Masengill-McCrary Realtors/Masengill Auction Company.
For students, the horse series is part of a class teaching agriculture event management. The series also provides a chance for agriculture students to meet and work with agriculture alumni.
Admission for the Ranch Rodeo is $10 for adults and $5 for students. Children six and under will be admitted free. Tickets are available at the door, from Walters State Ag Club and Ag Alumni Club members and from participating FFA chapters.
For more information, contact Brooks at (423) 585-2663 or Roger.Brooks@ws.edu.
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