Eight seconds to fame, annual Sheriff’s Rodeo a success

Josh McBrayer

CULLMAN – To quote country music legend Garth Brooks, “It's boots and chaps; It's cowboy hats; It's spurs and latigo; It's the ropes and the reins; And the joy and the pain; And they call the thing rodeo,” and that is exactly what the fans wanted Friday and Saturday night as they filled the Cullman County Agricultural Trade Center for the annual Cullman County Sheriff’s Office Jimmy Arrington Memorial Rodeo.

“It means a lot to me and the deputies, and all of our community,” Cullman County Sheriff Matt Gentry told the Cullman Tribune after Saturday night’s action wrapped up. “This is an event where we can come together as one whole group and just fellowship and be together and have a good time with our families. It’s just good, clean fun for all of us, and it means a lot when you get to see smiles in children’s faces. It is just a good way for the community to come together as a whole.”

The Cullman Ag Center was packed to the rafters and the parking lot was full to the point of fans having to park in the lots of businesses surrounding the center. The 2016 Jimmy Arrington Memorial Rodeo kicked off Thursday morning with some special visitors, the special needs children from surrounding Cullman area schools.

The Special Needs Rodeo,” Gentry said with a huge smile on his face, “words can’t describe how that makes you feel when you get to see those children and what a blessing it is to them.”

The Sherriff’s Rodeo has been a staple event here in Cullman for the last several years and just like in year’s past, it has been a huge boon to the Cullman economy.

“Any time you can bring in this many people together in one area,” said Gentry as he gestured to the hundreds of people who were packed in the Ag Center stands, “you are going to benefit through your restaurants and your hotels and just any of the services. It also provides a way for us (the sheriff’s office) to give back to the community. Through our rodeo, we were able to donate $15,500 to the special needs programs to all the schools. We also did a $5,000 scholarship to Wallace. It’s all about the community and what we can do to help each other.”

On hand working the rodeo were many of the personnel from the Cullman County Sheriff’s Office, who volunteered their time and weekend to make the 2016 Sherriff’s Rodeo a success.

“It’s all volunteer, both nights, said the Gentry about his staff. “These deputies and office staff volunteer their time. They just do it out of the goodness of their heart. They are here to help their community.”

With all of the great things the Cullman County Sheriff’s Office is able to do because of the rodeo, the rodeo itself is a huge event for the Professional Cowboy Association (PCA) with it being the kickoff to their 2017 season.

“This is the kickoff rodeo for the 2017 season,” Gentry said of the PCA. “4L and Diamond S, I just can’t talk enough about the great job they do. Those guys are great stock contractors. The even have stock that is in Las Vegas right now for nationals, the finals, so you just can’t talk enough about these guys.”

As this was the first stop on the PCA tour, the rodeo featured some of the best cowboys and cowgirls the tour has to offer. From barrel racing and calf roping to steer wrestling and everyone’s favorite event, bull riding, it was truly an amazing event put on by a professional rodeo group and one sheriff’s office that always puts their community first.


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