Sheriff’s office saddles up for 2016 rodeo

W.C. Mann

Cullman County Sheriff Matt Gentry talks about the 2016 Sheriff's Rodeo

CULLMAN – The Cullman County Sheriff's Office (CCSO) is getting ready for its annual rodeo, which will take place Dec. 8-10 at the Cullman County Agricultural Trade Center.  The event has filled the arena to standing room only capacity for the last two years, and Sheriff Matt Gentry sees this year being no different. 

A trip to the rodeo will be a "fun-filled family night,” he declared. "We want it to be a good atmosphere to bring your children to."

The rodeo will feature bareback riding, bull riding and barrel racing, among other events.  It will be the real deal, with stock supplied by the 4L and Diamond S Rodeo Company, and personnel from the Professional Cowboy Association.

The pro rodeo that will take place Friday and Saturday Dec. 9-10 will certainly be exciting for fans.  But what spins the sheriff's spurs is what will happen before that: on Thursday Dec. 8, the CCSO will put on a mini rodeo for special needs children from area schools and agencies.  The same staff for Friday and Saturday will be there, but presenting activities in ways that are accessible to and geared toward these kids.  Additionally, children will be able to try out their roping skills with deputies, and there will be stick horse races and a hay ride.  Around 1,000 children attended last year's mini rodeo, and Gentry hopes to see at least that number this time around.

Begun in 1998, the event originally raised funds for school resource officers, but it has expanded to support numerous other aspects of the CCSO's work, as well.  In addition to helping fund the department's Citizens’ Academy and firearms classes, the rodeo also helps the department purchase computers, ballistic vests and other equipment.  Gentry is quite proud to say that rodeo proceeds allow the CCSO to make monetary contributions to all county schools with special needs students, and to fund a $5,000 Wallace State scholarship for students pursuing careers in law enforcement.

The mini rodeo will take place Thursday Dec. 8 from 9 a.m.-1 p.m.  The pro rodeo will be Friday and Saturday, Dec. 9-10, with gates opening at 5:30 p.m. each evening.  Admission will be $10 for adults and $8 for children. On Saturday evening the department will hold drawings for three raffles: a shotgun, rifle and custom saddle will be given away.  The saddle may be viewed now at the Cullman County Courthouse.

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