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Tag: James E Ward Ag Center

The Rodeo Is Coming To Town


The Lebanon Wilson County Chamber partnered with the James E. Ward Agricultural Center on October 1 to host a Business After Hours, which served as an introduction to the upcoming Junior High National Rodeo Finals to members of the community. Larry Tomlinson, Director of the Ag Center, and Wilson County Commissioner Jeff Joines have been working with the National High School Rodeo Association (NHSRA) to organize and coordinate the event, which will take place in Lebanon in both 2016 and 2017. Tomlinson and Joines each spoke briefly about their experiences with the rodeo in past years in other cities before giving the floor to Ronnie Haslerig and Austin White, who came to the event on behalf of the NHSRA.

The NHSRA is the largest youth organization in the western industry, with an annual membership of more than 12,000 students from 42 states, five Canadian provinces, and Australia. Since its inception in 1949, the mission of the NHSRA has existed first and foremost to promote and support education and to develop the essential attributes of leadership, dedication, commitment, and responsibility in high school and junior high students. Approximately 1,400 members of the NHSRA will be travelling to Lebanon to participate in the 2016 Junior High Finals, slated for June 19 – June 25 of next year.

The pair of rodeo executives discussed some of the logistics of the upcoming Junior High. In addition to several days of set-up, there will be seven days of actual rodeo events, ranging from bull riding to calf roping and barrel racing. Because the 1,400 participants are junior high school age, entire families are likely to come to the event along with them, bringing the total event attendance to around 50,000. The incoming crowd is expected to need approximately 6,000 hotel/motel nights; the total economic impact on the region will likely be in excess of $10 million.

Businesses throughout the county are encouraged to participate in welcoming the rodeo to town by extending business hours, offering special shopping events, stocking supplies such as trailer tires and grocery staples, providing promotional items for welcome baskets, and participating in the trade show at the rodeo. Those wishing to be noticeably marked as rodeo supporters are also encouraged to purchase and decorate a large wooden bull (like the Chamber’s newly-decorated friend Jasper) to position outside their businesses. For more information on the rodeo or how your business can partner to make the event a success, please contact Larry Tomlinson at 615-449-9077.

Rodeo BAH 1 900x414The crowd listens to Larry Tomlinson & Jeff Joines discussing the rodeo while enjoying a BBQ dinner. Similar to rodeo participants’ required identification, Business After Hours attendees wore back numbers as nametags.


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