56th Annual SLE Rodeo Ready to Begin

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By Ellis Eskew

It's time to dust off your cowboy hat and boots... for the 56th annual Southeastern Livestock Exposition Rodeo!

One hundred -forty contestants from across the country and Canada are going to be competing in Montgomery this weekend. It's a chance to see who has the best racing, roping, and riding skills in the nation and crown a national champion.

"We really emphasize on Thursday night and Saturday matinee for families to come out. We got a lot of activities for youngsters to see before the rodeo and it's all for free," said Billy Powell, Exec. VP of the Alabama Cattlemen's Association.

The event will kick off Thursday morning with 200 4-H and FFA youth competing in the Alabama Junior Livestock Expo.

"The youth that participate for FFA and Jr Cattlemen, they've been working all year and competing in county and district to move to the state. Wonderful activity, teaches them a lot of responsibility and leadership," said Powell.

Also coming back this year-- the Wagon Trains!

It's a long standing tradition to travel to the rodeo and make a grand entrance.

"We're excited to have the Wagon Trains back this year. As you all know, it's an 8 day trek for these wagons, and we have 5 of them coming to the rodeo this year," said Erin Beasley, Director of Marketing for the Alabama Cattlemen's Association.

The rodeo will also have special performances by singers Justin Moore and John Michael Montgomery after the rodeo, which will be free with your rodeo ticket.

And, of course, the best contestants from around the country competing for a national title in their division.

"We bring the top contestants from each region here to the National All-Region Finals, and we will crown those national champions here Saturday night. Also, we have six different stock contractors that bring bucking horses and bulls and stuff. We kind of bring the best of everything here and try to put on the best show possible," said Dale Yerigan, General Manager of the International Pro Rodeo Association. 

If you would like to go to the rodeo, tickets are sold at the Garrett Coliseum box office.

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