ALPHARETTA, Ga. — Running for more than 20 years, the Celebrate Freedom Rodeo welcomed some 22,000 visitors over three days to witness cowboys and cowgirls compete in a slew of competitions.
The traditional Southern rodeo was held at the Wills Park Equestrian Center from May 4 to May 6.
The event featured saddle and bareback bronc riding, with a bucking horse as men fought to stay on using one hand. It also had break-away roping, calf roping, team roping, steer wrestling and cowgirls barrel racing. The finale of every night was bull riding, notably the biggest thrill.
“As they say, it's the most exciting eight seconds in sports,” said Morgan Rodgers, Alpharetta Recreation and Parks director.
Throughout the event, which led with a salute to the country, there were pauses for banter from a rodeo clown. Kids also stepped forward to compete in a dancing competition for a chance to win money.
Before the competitions geared up, some visitors were slung off a mechanical bull and rode ponies. Outside of typical concessions, there were vendors selling barbecue, boiled peanuts and funnel cake. There were also cowboy hats and other rodeo gear like oversized, ornate belt buckles for sale. But many already showed up dressed to impress.
“[The rodeo] is a staple, is what it is,” Rodgers said.