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It’s rodeo time in Knox County

Bring on the bulls, the calf ropers and bareback riders, the rodeo is coming to town.

Usually held in May, this year The Dodge Pro Rodeo circuit is coming back to Lakeside Stables at Prater Farms — Prater Arena — along Northshore Drive near The Cove at Concord Park.

Action begins at 8 p.m. Friday, July 28, and Saturday, July 29.

A Professional Cowboy Association Rodeo event that will include several area teens, including Lucinda and Natalie Fletcher who are coming off stellar rodeo performances in Georgia and New Mexico (see farragutpress July 20).

This year promises to be bigger and better than last year, promises Marti Fletcher, granddaughter of the late farm owner and rodeo enthusiast W.H. Prater and event spokesperson.

“We’ll have at least twelve riders for each event and they’ll be coming from all over the United States,” she said.

Fletcher added that last year’s attendance was in the thousands and that with Knox County Sheriff Tim Hutchison’s “Sheriff’s Appreciation Day” Saturday at The Cove, the crowd should be bigger.

“This year’s rodeo will help out the Farragut High School cheerleaders,” Fletcher said, adding that the group that did concessions last year took in more than $3,000.

According to sources at Dodge Rodeo, the genesis of the rodeo tour was “in the late nineteen seventies and the early nineteen eighties [when] Dodge did a study of world sporting events to determine what percentage of attendees drove trucks. Their report demonstrated 51 percent of those surveyed at rodeos drove a truck for personal or for business purposes.”

It was about this time that Jack Lowry, a Dodge dealer from Jersey Shore, Pa., was getting his family involved in horse shows and rodeos. Lowry discovered that by merchandising directly to the “grassroots” population he could reach even more people on behalf of his dealership.

A Dodge Marketing representative heard about Lowry’s method of truck sales and contacted him early in 1981. Dodge was eager to find out what secret he had for merchandising these trucks. A relationship was established.

Within weeks they were sponsoring the first of eighteen events for the year with Dodge the exclusive automotive sponsor. Success was found and by 1982 the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association signed Dodge on as its “Official Truck.”

Tickets for the Dodge Rodeo at Lakeside Stables are $10 for adults and $5 for children.


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