The rodeo at Evening Breeze Arena in Elizabethton was a capacity crowd on Friday and Saturday night. With gates opening at 6 p.m. there was still plenty of heat in the air until the sun began to set when the event began at 8 p.m.
Crowds were entertained by the announcer and Johnny, the comic and clown entertainer from Panhandle, Texas. The All-American tradition began with a warm tribute to America with flag bearers galloping around the arena with Old Glory, followed by prayer and the national anthem.
The rodeo was sanctioned by the Southern Rodeo Association and the National Cowboy Association, and competitors were in the run for points and cash prizes. The National Cowboy Association sanctions rodeos throughout the southeast and provides action-packed family entertainment worthy of a night out.
It was a beautiful night at the arena, just off Stoney Creek near the river. When the sun went down the atmosphere was comfortable and a large crowd descended upon the stands making for a great crowd to cheer on the cowboys and cowgirls.
There weren't many winners Saturday night, as only a couple of competitors managed to rope their calf, complete the barrel racing successfully, or ride their bull. The animals put on a good show, with the beautiful horses and magnificent bulls with lots of energy.
The Mutton Riding competition was a real crowd pleaser, with the last competitor really hanging on to her sheep for the long haul. Trick rope demonstration was put on by young Lucas Maynard (16), from Stoney Point, North Carolina. I would have included a live shot, but I couldn't get a decent shot from where I was.
There are many people who are unaware of the draw of rodeos in the area, and that many rodeos are held in the area every year. The mainstream festivals -like Fun Fest, going on in Kingsport this week- have a large turnout. The number of people and the vendors at a rodeo pull in a different breed and crowd. Here you'll find cowboys, cowgirls, farmers, and families who appreciate the animals and are a true country-loving crowd. Just know, you might hear some jokes poking fun at those who are less patriotic at times.
It's a lot of fun and you'll find concessions with cold drinks, and carnival-type offerings such as snow cones and funnel cakes. Maybe you too will try one on for size.
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