Shady Dale, Georgia is a very small town where 5 roads intersect, and that’s about it. But who would know that a small town like Shady Dale would hold one of the largest outdoor IPRA rodeos! The contestants and fans sure do because everyone in the surrounding towns came out to see the rodeo! For the last two weeks I have been burning up the rodeo road traveling from one state to another, but that’s what it is all about, making it to rodeos and representing the IPRA.
I am sure you picked up on how small the town of Shady Dale is, but for such a little area, there sure was a lot going on during rodeo week. I arrived and started visiting sponsors first thing, promoted the rodeo through radio interviews, and made appearances at special events. I went to Monticello for a farmer’s market on the square and then attended the Shady Dale festival, which included a parade! Along with Southern Rodeo Company, I trailed along in the parade on a beautiful bay roan horse.
Rodeo performance nights were both so fun! The drill team did a beautiful flag presentation and I was honored to carry the American flag. The arena was super muddy the first night as it downpoured the day before, but don’t worry, that didn’t stop the contestants for giving it their all! Mud and all, the rodeo was held and the calf scramble was pretty funny to watch! You could see kids running and then losing their shoes in the mud. Some actually never found their shoes!
I go to many rodeos over the course of the year and most have a lot in common. But, Shady Dale proved to be different because they offered watermelon AND brownies at their concession stand! I didn’t understand why they didn’t sell a whole pan of brownies instead of individual packs! I ate my share and took a few for the road of course! Overall, I had a blast in Shady Dale and will remember the small town in Georgia!
I left the blazing heat and humidity of Georgia and my next stop was in Ozark, Arkansas. My drive was filled with beautiful views of the mountains and sunny weather. I visited many sponsors during my time in Ozark and met the Hampton’s with Hampton Rodeo Company. I did a really fun radio interview in Ozark, but it was a little different from the rest. The radio host made a reference to Arkansas sports, and of course, I am a rodeo queen and am no way interested in any sports, but I do love the Kentucky Wildcats! Go Cats! Being from Kentucky, I have to bleed blue, I just choose to wear the color blue more than attend games! Anyways, the host picked on the wildcats and we sure had a fun time during our interview!
One evening I visited the local farm to art festival in downtown Ozark. On the square you could find several local vendors with fresh farm produce, homemade sweets, or boutique items. The committee had a table set up for autographs at the square for me. I sat there a while and kept hearing people say they were going to get hot tamales. Apparently, they were the best in town and always sell out. Since I had never tried a tamale, I figured that I would go get one. To my surprise, I couldn’t just buy one, I had to buy a dozen! I bought my dozen and took them back to my table where I had my caramel frappe handy if I didn’t like the tamale. Micki, the pageant director for the NFC queens, made sure to laugh at my faces with my first experience with the hot tamales! It wasn’t what I thought it was and after waiting a little bit, I decided to sell my tamales to a friend who was sad that the lady didn’t have any more tamales! I think it was a win win situation! So I tried my first tamale, and won’t forget that moment at the square in Ozark!
Friday night performance of the rodeo kicked off with some pre-rodeo fun of mutton busting. The kids gave it their all and had one heck of a time in the arena! I did too cheering for the kids and helping out. The rodeo was great with a wonderful crowd, many rodeo sponsors present, and cowboys and cowgirls doing their best!
Saturday brought another parade! Two parades in two weeks! Then it was time for the last night of the North Franklin County Rodeo and the crowning of the new NFC rodeo queens! It is always so exciting to be a part of the crowning moments! The crew in Ozark work so hard to put together a wonderful rodeo and queen pageant year round. It’s great to see the end result during the rodeo! Overall, I met many wonderful people during my time in Arkansas and will be back again later in the year!