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It is Rodeo Time! And that means horses, cowboys, and parades! The Parade is May 14th , at 12 noon on Main Street, and the Rodeo dates are May 19-21.
I grew up in Franklin, TN. I cannot recall how many parades I participated in – mostly with the marching band, but also with the baton twirling squad, the girl scouts, and dance teams. The two annual parades were both huge events and everyone came out for them, all the time. These parades were the Christmas Parade and the Rodeo Parade. For those of you who don’t live here, you might say, “Rodeo Parade”? Yes, the Rodeo Parade. And the timing makes it terrific – the weather is warm and school is almost out. The Rodeo was huge! It is still a big deal, but in the 1980s, it was a huge deal. Let’s go there….
The Rodeo was held at the Jim Warren Park, outside, in whatever weather we had. The band parents for the Franklin High School band sold the concessions. It was very much a carnival atmosphere. People would come and go from their seats, watching the events, getting food, and well, sometimes watching the cowboys or other bystanders at the event. We were greeting friends, walking in the mud and admiring each other’s cowboy hats. We would march in the parade on Saturday morning and then head over to the Rodeo Grounds for the Saturday afternoon and evening Rodeo. It was the greatest day – every year. If you didn’t have a cowboy hat, you could go down to the local, and I mean local, department store. It was called Frank’s Family Fashions on Main Street. Ben Franklin didn’t have the best hats as I recall. Frank’s did. The whole town went “cowboy” for the weekend. It is one of my best memories from those years.
The Rodeo is still a big event. Have you seen the red flags on the light posts downtown? They are Rodeo flags. It happens around the middle of the month of May. This year it will be May 19 – 21. We now have the comfort of the recently air conditioned Agricultural Center in which to watch the Rodeo. More people are able to enjoy the show and the Rodeo experience. The bucking bulls, broncos, barrel racing, and community favorite – mutton busting. Mutton Busting? Well, we start ‘em young around here. The small kids get to ride a sheep. This is the cutest thing you have ever seen! And of course, there are rodeo clowns and opening ceremony pomp and circumstance. Thanks to the Franklin Noon Rotary who puts it on.
For more information or to buy tickets, go to www.FranklinRodeo.com. Start making your own Franklin Rodeo memories!