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Liberty Bowl Rodeo


Photos by Tommy Brannon

The 30th annual Liberty Bowl Rodeo filled the stands at the ShowPlace Arena in Memphis, Tennessee on a bitterly cold Wednesday night, December 27, 2017.  But everyone was comfortable inside the arena. The stands were filled to capacity with spectators from all over the mid-south, fans of both Iowa State and the University of Memphis (playing in the Liberty Bowl) as well as members of nine high school bands. These band members were scheduled to entertain at the half time show of the Liberty Bowl football game. At the rodeo, however, they got to be spectators watching all of the action – and there was plenty of action.

There were 158 rodeo entries competing in bareback riding, steer wrestling, calf roping, team roping, saddle bronc riding, barrel racing and bull riding. In addition to the rodeo competition, the little tikes got to compete in a Kids Boot Race. They placed one of their boots in a pile in the middle of the arena, and then raced across the arena to retrieve their boot, put it back on, and run to the finish. Many parents and grandparents were snapping photos! 

The Coyote Run Drill Team  performed their precision riding in the Grand Entry.

Rodeo Clown Dusty Myers was on hand to keep the crowd entertained. The good natured banter between him and Rodeo announcer Trey Windhorst of Poplarville, MO was as corny as the cattle feed for the livestock provided by Stock contractor MFJ Productions of Jonesboro, AR.  Here are a few rodeo clown jokes to take home.

What do you call a rodeo bull with a sense of humor? Laughing stock!
What did the egg say to the rodeo clown? You crack me up!
What does a cowboy eat before a rodeo? Bullogna!
What do you call a bull that fell asleep at the rodeo? A bulldozer!
How do you stop a bull from charging? Take away his credit card!

“Our rodeo in December is one of the very first of the IPRA point-earning year," said rodeo chairperson Sue Lynn Perry of Millington, TN. “The competitors you see in our events are getting an early jump on the road tour necessary to make the top 15 qualifiers toward a championship. The Liberty Bowl Rodeo has proven to be a great place to launch a qualifying campaign toward the International Finals Rodeo, held in Oklahoma City, OK, in January.”

She added “This recent rodeo was the 30th Annual Liberty Bowl Pro Rodeo, produced by the AutoZone Liberty Bowl.  Last year's rodeo - the 29th -- was elected a Top 5 Indoor Rodeo for the International Professional Rodeo Association.”

The Mid-South Rodeo Queen Pageant was also held in conjunction with the Liberty Bowl Rodeo this year. Newly crowned Miss Mid-South Rodeo Queen 2017-2018, and horsemanship winner, is Susan Rhodes of Canehill, Arkansas.   Mid-South Rodeo Princess 2017-2018 is Braylee Posey of Athens, AL. Junior Miss Mid-South Rodeo 2017-2018 is Natalie King of Byhalia, MS. Teen Miss Mid-South Rodeo 2017-2018 is Emily Hedrick of Madisonville, TN.

The alternate placings are as follows: Princess First Alternate is Heidi Hayse of Millington, TN. Junior First Alternate is Anna Leigh Pilkington of Hartselle, AL. Teen First Alternate is Reagan Caen of Columbia, TN. Miss First Alternate is Margo Thomas of Bogue Chitto, MS. Miss Spirit of the Mid-South 2017 is Morgan Flowers of Brighton, TN.

Miss AutoZone Liberty Bowl for 2017 is Joanna Dyches. She is the daughter of Dal and Mary Jo Dyches of Chapin, South Carolina, and a 2017 honor graduate of Chapin High School. Joanna is currently a freshman at the University of South Carolina and a member of Chi-Omega sorority. As Miss AutoZone Liberty Bowl 2017, she will partner with The Ronald McDonald House and St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital to do whatever she can to help the lives of the children and their families that they serve.
Mid South Rodeo Queen photo cutline: (left to right): Miss Rodeo of the Mid-South 2016-17 Taylor McNair, Miss Mid-South Rodeo 2017-18 Susan Rhodes, and Van Beasley of Van’s Leather Craft presenting his custom-made bronc halter to the winner.

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