Some of the best bovine athletes and broncs were on display at the Wetumpka Sports Complex on Friday, April 30, and Saturday, May 1, for the third annual Wetumpka FFA Alumni Championship Rodeo.
“This rodeo was a huge success for not only the school and the FFA organization, but also for the city of Wetumpka,” said FFA Alumni Chapter President William Pierce. “This year’s rodeo was about 50 percent larger, as far as the crowd goes, than any of the previous two rodeos. Over the course of the weekend, we had 7,000 to 8,000 attendees enter the gates. Saturday night was a sellout.”
The event serves as a fundraiser for the alumni chapter, which works to give back to Wetumpka High School’s FFA Chapter and the WHS agricultural department. Wetumpka High School senior Dalton Dennis won the R.O. Meek Award, a scholarship that is only awarded to WHS FFA members.
“With the money raised, we’ll be able to add more scholarships and provide additional funding for the program,” Pierce said.
Oubre Rodeo Company, out of Lagrange, Georgia, provided the stock for the two-day long rodeo that included eight events: Bull riding, bareback riding, barrel racing, team roping, steer wrestling, break-away, saddle bronc, and tie-down roping.
The rodeo featured 2021 Miss Rodeo USA, Kylee Campbell, who will travel over 10,000 miles across the country and into Canada over the course of her reign as Miss Rodeo USA, and U.S. Ski Team member Dani Loeb, the first Alabamian to make the U.S. Ski Team. Jerry Thornton and Mr. Bojangles also treated guests to a trick horse performance during intermission.
Campbell, a 20-year-old Huntsville native, is the 10th Miss Rodeo USA from the state of Alabama, in the organization’s 56-year history.
“My favorite part about being Miss Rodeo USA is getting to go into the communities and meeting all the different types of people,” Campbell said. Hearing different people’s stories “makes my year,” she said.
Kylee also stated that having the honor of donning the title of Miss Rodeo USA and coming home to Alabama is “something really special because I’m getting to come home and be with people with whom I’ve gotten to grow up and it’s really special.”
The lights shown bright on the arena all weekend, especially for Yuma, Tennessee’s Ryan McDaniel who scored 85 points on Friday to win the bull-riding event.