Knotty Bolden Rodeo

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Article & photos by Tommy Brannon

The 35th annual Knotty Bolden Memorial Rodeo was held on Saturday night July 27, 2019 at Jerry Bolden’s J Bar B Ranch in the Knotty Bolden Memorial Arena near Holly Springs, Miss. The rodeo is held annually to honor the late Donald Lanier (Knotty) Bolden of Holly Springs, MS who was the 1983 world bull riding champion. It is produced by J Bar B Rodeo Company.

This year the Knotty Bolden Memorial Buckle, donated by Cowboy Corner of Southaven, Miss., was awarded to bull rider Christian Guy. Jerry Bolden announced the award at the beginning of the Rodeo. He had much praise for Christian who has participated in this rodeo for many years.

The 2019 Rodeo had 30 roping teams, 30 barrel racers, and 10 bull riders. The tough bucking bulls, with names such as Fist Full Of Dollars, Bad to the Bone, Blue Goose, 44 Magnum, Sasquatch, and Junk Yard Dog, won the day as none of the bull riders were able stay on for the full 8 seconds.  All of the bulls are raised and trained by Bolden on his J Bar B Ranch. 

Announcer Greg McKinley, who is a former bull rider, bantered with funny man Jeff (Jeffro) Cupp, who entertained the crowd with the help of his side kick and son Tyler as “Mini Me.”  They conducted a Children’s Dance with several of the children from the audience during half time.  Many a parent and grandparent recorded the kids’ gyrations.  

Bolden started his rodeo company with his late brother, Knotty Bolden. Knotty Bolden was killed in 1984 at the age of 25 while riding a bull in J Bar B Rodeo’s practice ring. Knotty was thrown from the bull, who stepped on his chest after he was on the ground. Knotty died later that evening at the hospital. Continuing what they started together, Jerry Bolden hosts the Knotty Bolden Memorial Rodeo each July in memory of his brother. J Bar B Rodeo produces several International Professional Rodeo Association (IPRA)-sanctioned rodeos per year throughout the mid-south. To find the rodeo schedule, visit

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