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It's boots and chaps, it's cowboy hats
Kiwanis Rodeo rides into Statesboro this weekend
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Danny Hedrick, owner/operator of the Hedrick Rodeo Company, removes the bucking strap from a runaway bronc during the bareback competition at last year's sold-out Statesboro Kiwanis Rodeo. - photo by Photo by Scott Bryant

Bulls, broncs and even a few clowns once again will take over the Kiwanis fairgrounds for two days this weekend — and if last year’s huge crowds offer any indication, the second annual Statesboro Kiwanis Rodeo is sure to draw thousands.

Hedrick Rodeo Company is bringing its livestock and champion riders to compete in an International Professional Rodeo Association sanctioned rodeo in Statesboro on Friday, April 27, and Saturday, April 28. There will be calf roping, bull riding, steer wrestling and more, said Danny Hedrick, owner of the company and former rodeo champion himself.

According to Kiwanis Rodeo committee member Don Poe, there will be an additional show this year. Last year, the Kiwanis club was unsure of how the community would respond to the rodeo, but after crowds swarmed the fairgrounds last year, they found that both shows quickly sold out. People were sitting on the ground, and many were turned away, Poe said.

So, this year, another show will be offered on Saturday in addition to Friday night’s show. Friday’s show is set for 7:30 p.m., and the two shows on Saturday are at 1 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.

“That should be ample opportunity for folks to get their cowboy fix by attending one of the three shows,” he said.
Advance tickets are available for purchase now at Anderson’s General Store (Highway 80 East) for $12 each. Tickets also will be sold at the gate for $15.

Ticket sales from the rodeo join the annual Kiwanis Ogeechee Fair in raising funds for charity, which the club filters back into the community.

The arena will remain the same size as last year, allowing spectators to stay close to the action, and according to Hendrick, there will be different contestants and livestock for each show.

“The opening will be a tribute to God, country and family,” he said. “We’ll have a different clown, Pork Chop, billed as the ‘Biggest Little Man in Rodeo.’”

Miss Rodeo USA Trisha Smeenk, of South Dakota, is spending the week in Statesboro before the rodeo rolls in and has been visiting places around town for autograph opportunities.

In addition, Justin Thigpen, an IPRA world-champion steer wrestler from Waycross, Ga., is competing in this year’s rodeo, Poe said.
Last year’s rodeo was such a success, it drew national attention.

“This rodeo ended up in the top five in the nation,” Hedrick said.

And with this year’s new attractions and an expanded show, that rank could get even better, he said.
“We have more contestants, more livestock and horses we raised on our ranch,” he said. “We’re really looking forward to coming back. This was a fun show for me and my family.

“This is quality family entertainment,” Hedrick said. “You’re not going to be seeing the same show. We expect to see seven-second calf roping. I can’t tie my shoe in seven seconds! When it comes down to being an athlete, these guys amaze me.”

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