By DELANIA TRIGG
Register Staff Writer
Some positive changes are in store for guests at this year’s Rodeo Gainesville.
The dates for the rodeo — sponsored each year by the Gainesville Riding Club —have been changed from late July to Sept. 13 and Sept 14. The rodeo will be held at the riding club arena at 3152 N. Grand Ave.
Organizer Patsy Dodd said she and other riding club officials hope potentially cooler weather will increase the number of participants in this year’s rodeo events and encourage more guests to attend the rodeo performances.
“Our entries are expected to double or triple because of the dates being changed to September,” Dodd said.
Also new this year, is a Friday night concert by Andy Serna & the Forever Young band and a Saturday evening musical performance by Phil Hamilton. Admission to the rodeo includes each night’s concert, and Dodd noted the price of admission hasn’t increased over last year’s pricing.
In addition, the rodeo will include sales of beer and margaritas presented by Serna’s Mexican Cuisine.
Dodd said identification will be required for all alcohol purchases and alcohol consumption will be allowed only within the confines of the riding arena.
In addition to changes in scheduling and beverage sales, Dodd said Rodeo Gainesville is becoming more popular among competitive cowboys and cowgirls.
“The United Professional Rodeo Association (UPRA) voted our rodeo ‘most improved,’ for 2012,” Dodd said.
The rodeo was also the 16th highest in money pay back from the UPRA, she added.
Preliminary rodeo events are set to start at 7 p.m. Competitive events begin at 8 p.m. each night.
Rodeo Gainesville will also include mutton bustin’ — a competitive event for children six and under, calf scramble, mechanical bull rides, pony rides and junior barrels as well as the Friday night crowning of Rodeo Gainesville’s rodeo royalty.
This year’s queen contestant is Cresah Marie Montgomery of Whitesboro. Princess contestants are Tana Rose Butts of Gainesville and Halley Branch Ihrig of Sanger.
Rodeo organizers have also made some changes to the selection process for the rodeo queen and princess. To qualify for the contest, each contestant must raise a specific dollar amount for the riding club.
The efforts of the three young women will raise at least $3,000 toward scholarship funding this year, Dodd said.
Fundraising efforts on behalf of the organization are 50 percent of the competition. Horsemanship skills make up the other half of the competition.
This year’s queen and princess horsemanship competition is scheduled for 8 a.m., Saturday, Sept. 7 at the riding club arena.
Dodd noted the riding club provides a safe place for children and adults to hone their riding skills and socialize in a wholesome atmosphere.
“We are a very child-oriented and inviting organization,” she said. “Our events, like open ride night, give people a chance to come out and exercise their horses. Some want to set up and practice barrels. Others will just ride around the lot.”
In addition to fast-paced arena events, vendors will be on hand offering jewelry, art and mechanic bull and pony rides. Rodeo Gainesville will also include a raffle drawing for a 42-inch LED flat screen television.
The drawing will take place during the Sept. 14 rodeo performance and the winner doesn’t have to be present to win.
Raffle tickets are available at Serna’s Restaurant.
Rodeo guests can also take a look at Dodge trucks courtesy of the Ram Rodeo program. Ram Rodeo supports over 300 rodeos each year including Rodeo Gainesville.
As always, a highlight of the rodeo performances will be mainstay events including bull riding, bareback bronc riding, saddle bronc riding, tie-down roping, team roping, barrel racing, steer wrestling and break away roping.
This year’s Rodeo Gainesville stock contractor is the Flying C Rodeo Company of Madill, Okla.
Gainesville Riding Club’s most visible event may be its annual rodeo but members say they strive to be active and positive members of the community.
The organization’s arena is often the site of charity events and the club helps support nonprofit agencies including VISTO, Cooke County Boys & Girls Clubs and the Littlest Angel program.
The organization also provides annual scholarships for area graduating seniors.
Advance tickets are available at Serna’s, American Bank (Gainesville location), Steppin’ Out (Gainesville and Whitesboro locations) and Dennard’s Farm Supply in Whitesboro.
For more information visit website www.gainesvilleridingclub.com or find the Gainesville Riding Club on Facebook.
By DELANIA TRIGG
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