Firefighters host 36th annual rodeo in Luverne

Published 8:00 am Friday, August 11, 2023

Cowboys, cowgirls, and rodeo lovers alike traveled to Luverne Aug. 3-5 to take part in the 36th Annual Crenshaw County Rodeo.

Each year, the Crenshaw County Association of Volunteer Fire Departments partners with local firefighters to host and sponsor the Crenshaw County Rodeo. Proceeds are distributed amongst each of the twelve Crenshaw County volunteer fire departments to aid in providing funding for training events as well as machine maintenance.

Stae Sanders, Crenshaw County Coroner and proud member of the Crenshaw County Association of Volunteer Fire Departments, said that though the proceeds are a huge help in providing needed capital for local firefighters, the rodeo is more than just a fundraiser.

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“The goal of the rodeo is to give back to our community,” Sanders said. “Fire departments in Crenshaw County receive funding from two different county taxes, so the rodeo is one weekend a year for the fire departments to give something back to the people of Crenshaw. They support us all through the year, so we put the rodeo on to show our appreciation for the community that is so good to us. We want it to be affordable enough for anyone to be able to come and have fun, so we haven’t raised any of our prices in 12 years.” 

Festivities kicked off Thursday evening as Tristan Baugh and The Village Petes performed in a Pre-Rodeo Concert at Turner Park. Sanders credited Alabama Senator Will Barfoot for a lead about a grant which allowed the association to host the concert with free admission to the public.

“Senator Barfoot told us about this grant we should look into,” Sanders said. “He [Barfoot] has a history as a volunteer fire fighter himself. He loves the rodeo and he looks for ways to help volunteer fire departments, so he wanted us to know about it. The grant he told us about is called the Alabama Tourism Grant, and we applied for it since the rodeo draws in so many people from many different places. Governor Kay Ivey signed off on it and we used that grant money to finance the concert for everyone.”

Competitive rodeo events took place at the Tom Harbin Center on Friday and Saturday nights with over two hundred contestants from Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Mississippi, Louisiana, Texas, and beyond in attendance on each night. Hundreds of community members and supporters flooded to the arena to watch their favorite cow-folk participate in barrel racing, bareback riding, calf roping, bull riding, team roping, saddle bronc, steer wrestling, breakaway, mutton bustin’ and more.

Crenshaw County Association of Volunteer Fire Departments President and Crenshaw County E911 director Scott Strickland said he is proud to be a part of an event that benefits so many members of Crenshaw County communities and offered his sincere appreciation to those who aided in making the rodeo a success.

“I’ve got to give a shout out and say a big ‘thank you’ to 5T Rodeo Company and Clint Allemand for their truly professional efforts to make sure we put on the best rodeo we could,” Strickland said. “We wanted to give the community an enjoyable experience, and with their help we did just that. Clint is great with how he gets the crowd involved and makes sure they’re enjoying the event and feeling like they’re a part of what’s going on. He does a wonderful job and we’re thankful he came out to announce for us.” 

Highland Home Volunteer Fire and Rescue Department Assistant Chief and Crenshaw County Association of Volunteer Fire Departments Vice President Stephen Wilson expressed his gratitude for both the contestants who competed in the rodeo as well as the patrons who showed up in support. 

“We had a really good turn out from the county and all the surrounding areas,” Wilson said. “There was an impressive number of people who came out on both nights, despite the weather not being the best. We truly appreciate everybody who contributed. The rodeo is really a great event that helps us connect with the community while also raising the money we continue to need to support all the fire departments in the county.”

Community members are encouraged to follow the Crenshaw County Association of Volunteer Fire Departments on Facebook to stay up to date on future events.