Bartow County Championship Rodeo kicks off Friday
by Marie Nesmith
Jul 10, 2014 | 905 views | 0 0 comments | 16 16 recommendations | email to a friend | print
As displayed in the 33rd annual Bartow County Championship Rodeo’s theme, “Tough enough to wear pink,” Phillips Rodeo Productions is encouraging attendees to don pink attire for breast cancer awareness. Starting at 8 p.m. on Friday and Saturday, the event will be held at the Bartow County Saddle Club’s covered arena, 43 Saddle Club Drive in Cartersville.

“I’m a breast cancer survivor,” said Bridgett Phillips, who owns Phillips Rodeo Productions with her husband, Danny. “... [I want] to raise awareness for breast cancer and to emphasize how important it is to get a mammogram. I got my first mammogram at 37 ... and started having one annually from there on.

“Had I not been doing that, if I had waited until I was 45 or 50, I probably wouldn’t be here. I was diagnosed at 39 [in] 2008. I’m doing great [now]. I’m past my five-year window. Everything is good and [I am] doing wonderful. So this is just kind of my way to, I guess, pay it forward because I have this platform to be able to do that.”

During the rodeo, spectators will view skilled competitors participating in various categories, such as calf roping, bareback riding, steer wrestling, bull riding, barrel racing and team roping. Other popular events will include the wild cow milking contest and the children’s calf scramble.

“The rodeo is sanctioned by the Professional Cowboy Association and this rodeo is actually one of their tour stops,” Phillips said. “... The contestants here are competing to gain points to qualify for the PCA finals in Biloxi, Miss.

“So we have some of the top 15 contestants in every event coming from all over the Southeast because the Professional Cowboy Association goes all the way to Louisiana, Alabama, Mississippi, all the way down to Florida and North Carolina, Tennessee — all over the Southeast. So we’ve got contestants coming from all over the area as well as there’s a lot of local cowboys and cowgirls that will be competing here.”

With the event held at the Bartow County Saddle Club’s arena, the rodeo also serves as a fundraiser for the local nonprofit. Formed in 1961, the Bartow County Saddle Club will generate money from the rodeo’s concessions and sponsorships. Some of the funds will help support local charitable efforts, such as providing shoes to Hickory Log Vocational School residents and Cartersville and Bartow County school systems’ students who are recommended by teachers and Division of Family and Children Services’ workers.

“We’re all volunteer, completely volunteer,” said Wayne Allen, parliamentarian of the Bartow County Saddle Club. “No one gets paid anything. ... We have to raise about $33,000 a year to meet our insurance, our taxes, our other obligations that we have — our charitable organizations. Then, if we have any money left over, we consider other charities.”

To attend the rodeo, the cost will be $12 for general admission and $7 for youth 5 to 9. Children 4 and younger will be admitted at no charge. For more information, call Phillips at 706-218-0382.