20th annual Cullman County Sheriff’s Rodeo Dec. 7-8; Special Needs Rodeo Dec. 6

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A professional rider attempts to rope a calf at 2017’s Cullman County Sheriff’s Office Jimmy Arrington Memorial Rodeo. (Cullman Tribune file photo)

CULLMAN – Three days of cowboy action are coming soon as the 20th annual Cullman County Sheriff’s Office (CCSO) Jimmy Arrington Memorial Rodeo returns to the Cullman County Agricultural Trade Center Thursday, Dec. 6 through Saturday, Dec. 8.  The event will begin on Thursday morning with a special needs exhibition mini rodeo followed by a sponsors’ dinner that evening. Friday and Saturday evenings will offer pro competition in bareback riding, steer wrestling, calf roping, team roping, breakaway roping, barrel racing and bull riding. 

On Saturday evening, the CCSO will raffle a hand-made custom saddle valued at $1,600, a Stoeger 12 gauge 3 ½-inch magnum shotgun and a Thompson Center Venture bolt action .308 rifle.

Cullman rodeo a nationally sanctioned event

This year’s rodeo is co-sanctioned by the Professional Cowboy Association (PCA) and the International Professional Rodeo Association (IPRA).  The PCA is the largest rodeo management company operating specifically in the Southeast, with more than 1,000 members and more than 100 annual events in eight southeastern states.  The IPRA operates across the U.S. and Canada as the sport’s overall second largest organization, with more than 2,400 members. The group sponsors nine event world championships. Stock will be provided by 4L & Diamond S Rodeo, which has produced numerous nationally-ranked bulls, including two honored as “Bucking Bull of the Year” by the Professional Rodeo Cowboy Association.

Why they do it

Begun in 1998, the Sheriff’s Rodeo is the CCSO’s primary fundraising event, providing money for deputies’ ballistic vests and department computers, as well as community events including the Citizens’ Academy, firearms safety classes and self-defense classes.  Proceeds also fund a scholarship at Wallace State for students pursuing careers in law enforcement. Another major focus of the fundraising is Cullman’s special needs community: Sheriff Matt Gentry and the Cullman County Sheriff's Rodeo Committee recently donated $15,500 from the proceeds of last year’s event to Cullman County Schools Superintendent Dr. Shane Barnette and Cullman City Schools Superintendent Dr. Susan Paterson, to be divided among the 31 schools in Cullman County that have special needs children.

The special needs community is important enough to the sheriff’s office that Gentry and his deputies dedicate the opening event of the three-day rodeo to entertaining more than 1,000 area special needs students with a “mini rodeo” featuring exhibitions of events from the main rodeo along with hay rides, roping, stick horse racing and other interactive activities with the pro cowboys and cowgirls and CCSO deputies.

Gentry shared, “The big thing about it for me, number one is that special needs rodeo.  If you can attend the special needs rodeo, I’ll tell you what: it’s life-changing to see, bringing happiness to that many children.  And that’s important for me and all the deputies here.

“Friday and Saturday night’s a way to bring all the citizens in Cullman County and all the deputies together in one event, for just good wholesome fun, so that we can be together with our families and have laughter, and just share a good experience.”

At a glance

20th annual CCSO Jimmy Arrington Memorial Rodeo

Dec. 7-8, 2018 at 7:30 p.m. at the Cullman County Agricultural Trade Center, 17645 U.S. Highway 31, Cullman (Vinemont).  Gates open at 5:30.

Admission $10 adults, $8 children

Special needs mini rodeo Dec. 6 from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.

 

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