Cattlemen host 20th annual rodeo

In its 20th year of opperation, the Shelby County Cattlemen Association&8217;s Rodeo looked to extend its reputation in the rodeo world as one of the most contestant friendly shows in the southeast.

&8220;We always have a good turnout of contestants, because we have such a good fan base,&8221; said rodeo chairman Tony Berry of Montevallo.

One such contestant returned for his 10th year at the rodeo in the Shelby County Exhibition Center. Lance Etherdige, the three-time defending national champion for bareback bronc riding, caught the crowd&8217;s attention as he came thundering from the gate laying flat on the back of a bucking Houston Solution. He held on for the ride and earned 76 points to win first in the event for the fifth consecutive year.

&8220;The crowd is what makes the rodeo,&8221; Ethridge said. &8220;For a small town like this, this is a perfect size arena that serves the purpose to have a good rodeo and give people something to bring their families to, because it&8217;s good clean entertainment.&8221;

The rodeo brings in a variety of contestants such as Etheridge, who is gaining national success, or local prospects such as Mary English and Phillip Kelce.

English, a graduate student at the University of Montevallo for speech and language pathology, competed Friday night in front of the hometown crowd in

the breakaway roping competition and returned Saturday as a spectator.

&8220;I enjoy it, because everybody comes to support you, but at the same time I get nervous in front of a home crowd when I may not somewhere else,&8221; English said.

Kelce, a Calera resident who was appearing in his 11th Shelby County Rodeo, and his teammate Judah Flemming of Bessemer led the team roping event entering Saturday evening, but was edged out to finish second.

&8220;We go all over, but it&8217;s kind of fun to come back. It&8217;s our hometown rodeo and it&8217;s always been a good paying rodeo,&8221; Kelce said.

It&8217;s not only been good paying to Kelce, but to all of its winners, earning the Shelby County Rodeo the award for largest payout for a rodeo its size last year, according to Cloley Gilmer of Tri County Rodeo.

Also during the rodeo, Thomas Reeves&8217; grand champion steer from the Shelby County Junior Beef Show was raffled off. Mid-State Farmers Co-Op purchased the steer from Reeves for $1,500 per 1.5 pounds of beef. Raffle money and extra proceeds went to the Cattlemen&8217;s association to help promote beef programs in the county, according to Cattlemen president Dr. Stansel Handley