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Chattahoochee International Rodeo
ropes in 2,000 spectators
tel:18559425629

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From the Sept. 1, 2021 issue
of The Journal

By Richard Harris
  The first Chattahoochee International Professional Rodeo was a huge success in Cusseta, as the two-day event roped in around 2,000 spectators last Friday and Saturday evenings.
   Organizer Johnathan Woodward of Woodward Rodeo Productions was very pleased with the event. How pleased? Well, he's betting the "Chattco Rodeo" will be this year's recipient of the International Association's New Rodeo of the Year Award.
   "I'd be hard pressed to think of another rodeo started this year that went as well," he said. "That would be a big deal for us and for the Chattahoochee County community."
   Each event started by bucking the bad news trend, as visitors were able to forget about the pandemic, political squabbling, and the disaster that was unfolding in Afghanistan and instead enjoy an upbeat All-American Pre-Show that featured patriotic music, honoring veterans, and special recognition of local law

enforcement officers and first responders (Sheriff Hank Lynch, Fire Chief Johnny Floyd and their staffs), as well as local officials who all played a part in bringing the event to Cusseta.
   What unfolded over the next hours was a spectacular display of a true, sanctioned, professional rodeo with competitors from across the country – some of them (like Katie Brown, No. 3 in the Barrel Racing World Standings) in the running for possible national titles.
   Events included bull riding, saddle bronc riding, bareback riding, tie-down roping, break away, team roping, steer wrestling, and barrel racing.
   The intermission entertainment was also a big hit. It included kids chasing calves to capture prize ribbons and women chasing each other (with some impressive tackling skills, too) to win a $100. However, the bit that almost "stole the show" was Tim "Wild Thang" Lepard and his monkeys that rode border collies while rounding up sheep. Yes, you read that correctly. Yes, you should be sorry if you missed it.
   The rodeo arena was set up in an open spot of property right on Broad Street (near the four-lane) owned by local resident William (Walter) Miller and it proved to be pretty much ideal.
   Woodward said he is very appreciative of Mr. Miller and of the support they received from the community, because it was definitely needed to put on such a big event.
   In turn, they took some special measures to support the community. That included offering free tickets to all 280 local elementary school students, as well as free tickets (+ 2) for each special needs student.
   "We're all about patriotism and supporting the community," said Woodward, who added that the two-way-street of cooperation and support will likely lead to more rodeos in the future.
   "The community leaders and our sponsors are already ready for us to book the next event," he said. "We have to wait a while to check the schedules, but we are excited and we look forward to bringing the Chattco Rodeo back again. I think the first event really validated it for us and for the community. The community seemed happy with the event and that's very important to us."
   He added that he thinks the timing of the event was wonderful for everyone.
   "The CDC is encouraging more outdoor events and this gave people a chance to not think about the pandemic and get out and laugh, enjoy a professional show, and be patriotic," Woodward said.
   Sponsors of the event included: Kimi Farms, the National Guard, Hughston Clinic, Boot Barn, Gas N' Go, Sons Chevrolet/Cadillac, Macco, BW Capps, Golden Donut, Banner Buildings, Moore Tech Automotive, Southeast Equine Veterinary Services, Red Line Automotive & Performance, Lane Services, Stahl Co. Equipment Rentals, the Chattahoochee County Historical Society, and the Unified Government of Cusseta-Chattahoochee County.
   To keep up with Chattco Rodeo, follow the event on Facebook.
   Many photos from the event are also online at tjournal.smugmug.com.