Rodeo is a family tradition

By NICOLE LOGGINS / Staff Writer

A rodeo clown entertained families and played with children during the 25th annual Shelby County Cattleman's Rodeo on Feb. 24 and 25. (Contributed)

I’ve lived in Shelby County my entire life, but I had never experienced the Cattleman’s Rodeo until this past weekend. I just assumed all rodeos were a dirt slingin’, boot stompin’ and beer-drinkin’ party, but I was pleasantly surprised by the number of families in attendance.

I’ve attended plenty of rodeos in my day, but never one as family-friendly as the Cattleman’s Rodeo. There were hordes of young children dressed in their best cowboy and cowgirl outfits, complete with oversized hats, boots and belt buckles, lined up against the rails cheering for their favorite riders and ropers.

Children played with the rodeo clowns and carried around plush horses as their parents socialized and watched the evening’s events. Little girls picked a favorite “horsey” to win based off the amount of sequins on the rider’s apparel, while young boys voiced how much they wanted to grow up and become a cowboy.

The Hanner family has been coming to the rodeo each year for more than 20 years. They had three generations in attendance at the Shelby County Expo Center on Feb. 24, the youngest of which was 6 years old.

“It’s been a family tradition for us,” Rhonda Hanner said as she sat with her daughter and granddaughter. Hanner and her daughter, Melissa Nolen, attempted to calculate just how long they had been attending but gave up at somewhere between 20 and 30 years, just as the youngest member of the clan, Emalee, spoke up to tell me she loved barrel racing.

The Hanners were only one of the families in attendance, and I’m certain there are plenty of others who have been attending the Cattlemen’s Rodeo for longer than they can remember.

The rodeo will be a fond memory many of these children will have forever and hopefully will continue to share in their future families as they grow up in Shelby County. All I have left to say is the Cattlemen’s Rodeo has rightfully earned its position on my annual calendar — and it should be on yours too.

Nicole Loggins is a staff writer for the Shelby County Reporter. She can be reached at 669-3131 ext. 40 or by email at nicole.loggins@shelbycountyreporter.com.