Upcoming rodeo to raise money for local FFA chapters

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Carroll County students involved in Future Farmers of America (FFA) have quite a bit of support. In fact, more than 60 sponsors have signed up to help with the Carroll County FFA Benefit Rodeo.

The rodeo will be held on Saturday, Feb. 20, at the Carroll County Fairgrounds, with timed events beginning at 11 a.m. and the main events slated for 7 p.m. Admission will be $5. All proceeds from the rodeo, including sponsorship donations, will be split between Berryville, Green Forest and Alpena FFA chapters.

Keith Kilbourn, the Green Forest FFA adviser, explained that students will be working the event in the concession stand or at the main entrance. Kilbourn said students will also help clean the fairgrounds before and after the event.

"We'll probably have students there at 9 a.m. and we don't leave until midnight," Kilbourn said, noting that the students will work in shifts.

Jurnee Logan, Berryville FFA president, recalled working in the concession stands last year. Working to make the event a success, Logan said, feels just as rewarding as the financial gain.

"I think it makes us appreciate it more. If you're there and you see what's going on and all these people who show up and donate money to help you out...I think that's great," Logan said.

Last year, Kilbourn said the three FFA chapters each received about $1,300 from the rodeo. That number has already increased this year; Kilbourn noted that the sponsorships alone raised $6,000.

"That doesn't include money from the concessions or gate, so I'm hoping we make a lot more," Kilbourn said.

The chapters all used the money in different ways last year. Maeghanne Smothers, Green Forest FFA president, said the Green Forest chapter used the money for two $500 scholarships. Both Berryville and Alpena used it for community programs.

Logan and Faith Grisham, Alpena FFA secretary, said their chapters plan to use the money to travel to the FFA national convention this year.

"It helps us a lot financially," Grisham said.

Kilbourn said the Green Forest FFA will likely give out more scholarships using the money this year. Tyler Swofford, Green Forest FFA treasurer, expressed excitement over that.

"Getting a $500 scholarship will really set you up for the future," Swofford said.

One of the best parts of the rodeo, Kilbourn noted, is the competition between the chapters. Kilbourn described the competition, calling it Fantasy Rodeo. Each chapter chooses from various performers to create a team and receives points from each event. The chapter with the most points at the end of the night will win a trophy.

Last year, Green Forest FFA won.

"The kids kind of got into it," Kilbourn said.

The competition, he added, is friendly. Alpena FFA students agreed, saying they enjoy the rodeo most because it allows them to interact with students from other schools.

"We form a lot of friendships and bonds," Grisham said.

Kilbourn thanked the sponsors for making the event possible, pointing out how much Kevin Meek, Jimmy Morris, John Swallow and Tee Griffith have done to get the rodeo off the ground. Those men, Kilbourn said, created the rodeo last year.

"They wanted to do something to help out FFA students. If it hadn't been for them doing this, we wouldn't have this opportunity," Kilbourn said.

For more information on the event, call 870-654-2942.

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