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STARKVILLE, Miss. – Bricklee Miller knows as well as anyone that word of mouth is the best form of advertising.
It’s been beneficial to the growth and stature of Rotary Rodeo, set for 7 p.m. Friday, Feb. 9, and Saturday, Feb. 10, at MS Horse Park in Starkville.
“One of the things that makes our rodeo successful is a strong collaboration between so many people,” Miller said. “It’s become a true community event. When people talk about the positive experience they’ve had at our rodeo and they share it, that really shines a strong light on the event we’re producing.”
That says something about the Rotary Rodeo, which is also an attractive stop for some of the top contestants in the game. Last year’s winners included saddle bronc rider Bradley Harter, a 10-time Wrangler National Finals Rodeo qualifier, and Tyler Waguespack, the 2015 world champion steer wrestler.
“I think we’ve got a great rodeo setup,” Miller said. “Our arena allows the animals to buck to you. With the production, there’s no dead time. That’s a testament to Pete Carr Pro Rodeo and to the great stock we have by having Pete as our producer.
“We’ve also been the winner for the Justin Best Footing Award in barrel racing, which attracts the top barrel racer. Being the same time as the rodeo in Jackson (Miss.) is a benefit, because we can draw the contestants to both rodeos because of the proximity.”
The Carr crew handles many of the pieces of the Rotary Rodeo puzzle. From having top bucking animals to a true showcase that is a sports production, there are a lot of details that are handled behind the scenes. In the foreground are announcer Andy Stewart and rodeo entertainer John Harrison, who help showcase the power and beauty of the sport.
“John is great, and we look forward to having him back,” Miller said. “One of the qualities that makes John so special is that he has that way to truly interact with the crowd. He has the charisma, and it translates to the crowd. That’s why they love him so much.
“Andy has been with us since Day 1, and he knows the crowd. They feel like they really know him. When he’s talking, because they have been with him so many years, they resonate with him.”
It all adds up to some spectacular things happening in just two days at the MS Horse Park.
“I have to applaud the Rotary Club here,” she said. “There’s a lot of work that goes into it, from getting sponsorships to working the concession stand. It takes an army of people to make a successful event. They’ve taken it from being a rodeo to being the rodeo.”