Society & Culture

Rodeo time: UGA students bring three nights of steer roping and bull riding to Athens

Great Southland Stampede Rodeo 2008-h.action
Children play with the sheep during the petting zoo portion of the Great Southland Stampede Rodeo.

Athens, Ga. – The University of Georgia’s Block and Bridle Club is gearing up for the 39th annual Great Southland Stampede Rodeo, which will roll into Athens April 18-20 at the UGA Livestock Instructional Arena, 2600 South Milledge Ave.

Gates will open at 6 p.m. each night, and the rodeo will start at 8 p.m.

Cowboys and cowgirls from all over the country will be in town to show off their skills and battle for top rodeo rankings in the International Professional Rodeo Association-sanctioned event.

About 100 student volunteers from the UGA College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences have worked for months to prepare for the rodeo. Since 1974, the event has introduced thousands of UGA students and northeast Georgians to the world of steer wrestling, barrel racing and bull riding.

The rodeo kicks off April 18 with “Tough Enough to Be a Dawg” student night. Students will be able to purchase tickets at the door for $10 with a valid UGA identification card.

April 19 is “Tough Enough to Wear Pink” night. The rodeo organizers will donate $1,000 to the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation. Attendees are encouraged to wear pink in support of those who have battled and survived breast cancer.

April 20 is “Tough Enough to Serve” night, recognizing the service of America’s military men and women. Attendees are encouraged to show their support by wearing red, white and blue. Organizers will donate $1,000 to Faces of Freedom, a combat veterans support organization spearheaded by Col. Michael Steele, who is a UGA alumnus, former Bulldog football player and retired U.S. Army officer.

The Block and Bridle Club has expanded the children’s activities available before and during the rodeo with face painting, pony rides, a petting zoo, photo booth cutouts and rodeo-themed games. There also will be a wider variety of food vendors with more child-friendly options.

UGA alumnus and professional rodeo announcer Roger Mooney will provide commentary. Events will include saddle and bareback bronc riding, breakaway roping, barrel racing, team roping, steer wrestling and Brahman bull riding.

Tickets are $15 for adults and $12 for children under 12. Children 3 and under are free. To preorder discounted tickets of $10 for children and $12 for adults, call 706/542-9374 or see

Seating is limited. Doors will be closed to general admission once attendance has reached maximum capacity. The arena is a covered venue, and the event will take place rain or shine.

For more information, call 706/542-9374 or see