Shelby County Cattlemen’s Rodeo celebrates 30 years

COLUMBIANA- The Shelby County Cattlemen’s Association held its 30th annual rodeo at 7 p.m. on Friday, Feb. 24 and Saturday, Feb. 25 at the Shelby County Exhibition Center. Cattlemen’s Association President Clifton Garrett said funds raised from the rodeo were donated back to the community.

“In the past 30 years, we have touched the lives of 41,000 kids’ lives through donations, and we’ve raised $270,000. We average about 9,000 dollars per year,” Clifton said. “We work to give things away.”

According to Garrett, the rodeo originally started as a fundraising event to benefit kids in Columbiana and nearby areas.

“We started it to basically do the same thing we’re doing now,” Garrett said.

During the rodeo, contestants competed in several events: breakaway roping, barrel racing, team roping, bull riding, bareback bronc riding, saddle bronc riding, steer wrestling and tie down roping.

“Years and years ago, cowboys would use all these techniques in order to make a living and raise their cattle,” Garrett said. “The animals used to be just animals. Now, the bulls and the horses are actually scored along with the contestants.”

Columbiana Mayor Stancil Handley said he is proud that the rodeo takes place in the city on a yearly basis.

“It’s just another fun event in Columbiana. It’s good, clean family fun,” Handley said. “It promotes agricultural products and careers throughout the county. Columbiana has been a rural city ever since its inception, but that lifestyle is starting to disappear. There are kids here who have never seen a horse or a bull up close, so it’s really an educational experience. The primary lesson we learn here is that hard work will get you ahead.”

In addition to the regular rodeo, the Cattlemen’s Association hosted its first special needs rodeo on Saturday, Feb. 25 from 11:30 a.m. to 2 p.m.

“Honestly, that’s something that God laid on my heart last year,” Garrett said. “I followed through where I was led. I explained what I wanted to do to the board, and they agreed to go along with it. Our cattlemen are going to be the ones who are performing.”

Garrett said the special needs rodeo is designed to give people with special needs and their families an opportunity to spend time together.

“We’re here to give special needs people and their families an enjoyable day. From what I understand, it’s rare to have a special needs event that the whole family can attend,” Garrett said. “I hope it brings unity and relaxation to these families. I hope it lets them know that people care about them.”