Rodeo ‘spurs’ keen interest

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, April 26, 2005

The Gates County Championship Rodeo is set to begin Friday, May 6 and continues on Saturday, May 7.

After working on helping to publicize this event, I have to tell you I am very impressed with the way things are coming together.

I’m impressed with the rodeo itself, which is a Southern Rodeo Association sanctioned event. I didn’t know what that meant when Aaron Brown, the producer of the event, first began describing the rodeo to me in an interview.

Sanctioned by the Rodeo Association means that the event is recognized as the genuine article with trophy buckles and cash prizes to be awarded to cowboys and cowgirls who do well in the competitions. It also means the rough and tumble competitions are recognized and operated according to the Rodeo Association rules and regulations.

The Gates County Rodeo is no small event, as one might believe of an Eastern rodeo as opposed to one from the Western states. The Aaron Brown Arena at the site will be filled with all the action and adventure of those same events out in Texas, Arizona, Colorado and Wyoming. There will be wild broncs tossing their riders, even wilder bulls, calves for roping and clowns for everyone’s enjoyment, all working under the auspices of the Rodeo Association.

The thrills and excitement will be real and the music and barn dancing at the end of each night’s events will be icing on the cake. There will also be plenty of funnel cakes, popcorn, beverages (non-alcoholic) to keep everyone happy.

Now, with all this to impress everyone, there is another aspect to the Gates County Championship Rodeo that I’d like to share with you. That is the Brown family, the owners of &uot;Slo Go Ranch&uot; where all the excitement lights up the night for miles around.

Aaron and Genia Brown and their two children, Alexa and Austin, are some of the most down to earth, just plain nice people I’ve ever encountered.

Genia is a teacher at Gates County High and she is, from all I’ve heard about her, a &uot;beloved&uot; teacher. Quietly, she describes her children as the focus of her life and it is obvious she is extremely pleased with their behavior and accomplishments.

The children… well, suffice it to say they don’t spend time tied to a computer or wasting their time playing video games. Both are the picture of health and both have a polite and kind demeanor. It’s obvious their parents are training them up to be productive, caring adults.

It’s a joy just talking with these four people. All live in a world where the cowboy life is the only life.

Although they were unaware of it, I felt as though I’d stepped onto the set of an old John Wayne movie. As we talked, they were unable to sit still. As a proud mama looked on, the children either had a rope spinning in wide arcs, &uot;butterflies,&uot; around or they had the reins of their horses, moving easily from place to place. They were so comfortable in their seats that they were simply an extension of the horses.

Meanwhile, a proud wife watched her cowboy husband as he mounted up and actually did ride into the sunset, cowboy hat shading his eyes from the setting sun. It didn’t help much, however, because years of cowboying have caused the sun to etch those fine lines at his eyes, just as you’d expect to see on John Wayne or any other wrangler.

I was also impressed with the fact that they did not want credit for their Western extravaganza. They counted off all the friends and family who have helped and supported them for the past seven years as well as this year.

They also said that this was their dream come true – rodeoing – and they just want to share the thrills good, clean family entertainment with anyone interested in a wholesome entertainment.

The Browns also make sure there is no drinking and no profanity at the rodeo and to me that’s a definite plus. They have the sheriff and his deputies on site for everyone’s safety.

They also have the volunteers of the Gates County Rescue Squad with Captain Billy Winn and his all-volunteer crew out there in case a cowboy or spectator takes a spill.

It just sounds to me like a show I don’t want to miss and I would urge the public to take advantage of this great opportunity to see something a little more unique than we normally see in the county.

Get tickets early for $10 each from Central Ford in Ahoskie or from Aaron Brown at 252-357-2412. You can wait and get them at the gate, but then they’ll cost $12.

Brown has bleachers lined up to seat 3,000, but that’s not a lot when you have the show of shows, so I’d advise to get the advance tickets!