Decked out in cowboy hats and cowboy boots, rodeo enthusiasts sauntered into the Williamson County Ag Expo on Friday evening for the second night of the 68th annual Franklin Rodeo.
The arena was full of entertainment, from steer wrestling and roping to barrel racing and bull riding. There also was bareback and saddle bronc riding. And there were rodeo clowns and two events for children – a calf scramble and mutton bustin’, a sheep-riding contest for pint-sized kids.
One bull rider had to be swiftly bandaged by an EMS crew after getting thrown from the bull and then chased down and injured by the beast. He was greeted with applause once back on his feet.
The Franklin Rodeo is one of the largest rodeos east of the Mississippi. This year’s rodeo concludes tonight.
Among those who came out Friday was Celia Dodd, Tennessee Miss United States Agriculture. Wearing a tiara, a sash over a short sleeve blue polka dot dress and cowboy boots, the 18-year-old was there to promote her pageant and enjoy the show.
Her favorite event is mutton bustin’. “It’s fun to watch the kids,” said Dodd, who also knows a lot about sheep. She grew up on a farm in Bon Aqua in Hickman County, where she still lives and raises and shows sheep.
As they were coming into the Ag Expo, rodeo goers were treated to a violin performance by Music City Strings, a Franklin-based children’s group that plays country, fiddle and classical music.
Eight-year-old violinist Dakota Shaffner loves the rodeo but would rather be outside by the entrance entertaining the crowd.
“It’s fun to let people listen to our music and be happy,” she said.
The Franklin Rodeo also features pony rides for children, a mechanical bull, concession stands and vendors, including those selling cowboy boots.
For information about the final show Saturday, visit franklinrodeo.com.