With new awards and a new crop of bucking stock foals and calves arriving this spring, rodeo contractor Danny Hedrick is excited to be returning to Statesboro for the eighth annual Statesboro Kiwanis Rodeo.
Hedrick Rodeo Company, a family-oriented rodeo business based in Madisonville, Tennessee, has brought bulls, broncs and more to Statesboro ever since the rodeo began, said Statesboro Kiwanis Club member Bill Anderson, rodeo chairman.
The annual event has been a major hit with area residents from the beginning, and Hedrick feels right at home when he comes back to Statesboro, he said.
This year the rodeo will be Friday, April 20, and Saturday, April 21. It will be held again at the Kiwanis Ogeechee Fairgrounds on Highway 67, but discussions are being held regarding the club’s possible future use of the Bulloch County agricultural arena being constructed on Langston Chapel Road.
On Wednesday, Anderson took Hedrick on a tour of the arena facility, which is expected to be completed this summer.
Hedrick said he was extremely impressed with the facility, which has a covered arena, covered practice arena, covered walkways and more than 200 stalls, as well as a number of RV sites.
“I go to a lot of places all over the country, and I am not easily impressed,” he said. “This is nice. Every county would want something like this. There aren’t many places in the state of Georgia that can handle what this one will.”
This year, the fairgrounds will be filled with an estimated 6,000 people over both nights as visitors come to watch the roping, bronc riding and calf roping. Vendors such as Hunter Cattle Company, the Back Porch Café and Sandra’s Hats will also be on hand, and Miss Rodeo USA, Summer Weldon from Tennessee, will be there to greet visitors, Anderson said.
Hedrick plans to bring back Colt Hart, the rodeo clown who entertained the crowd last year.
“He will bring in new acts, a whole new show,” he said.
There will be children’s games and trick-riding exhibits as well as contest events featuring local riders as well as professionals, including world champions.
Hedrick raises his own stock and will bring quality horses and cattle for the rodeo. Many may remember a bucking mare named Black Pearl who fell and suffered a slight injury the first year of the rodeo. The next spring, Hedrick brought her back with her foal Shamrock, and the pair pranced around the arena to show concerned patrons the mare was OK. This spring, Shamrock herself had a new foal, he said.
Hedrick’s stock routinely wins awards. This year, he will be bringing a 5-year-old gelding that was named Bucking Horse of the Year for the Southern Professional Rodeo Association, as well as another horse and two bulls that were voted into the National Professional Rodeo Association finals.
Also, Mark Northall, announcer for the International Professional Rodeo Association, will be announcing for the Kiwanis rodeo this year.
“He has never been here before,” Hedrick said.
Anderson said details about promotions, contests and other features of the rodeo will be announced closer to the date of the event. More information can be found on the Statesboro Kiwanis Rodeo Facebook page or at www.statesborokiwanisrodeo.com.
Herald reporter Holli Deal Saxon may be reached at (912) 489-9414.