MINT HILL, NC – On Friday, April 21 and Saturday, April 22, the fifth annual Rodeo returned to Mint Hill! The two-day event featured two nights of prime-time high school competition, a main event that included events like Bareback/Saddle Bronc, Tie Down, Breakaway, Steer Wrestling, Barrel Racing, Pole Bending, Team Roping, Goat Tying and Bull Riding.
The high school competition was punctuated by fun events like a clown act, a “Kids Calf Scramble,” where kids ages six to ten scrambled to remove the ribbon from the tail of a calf, and a “Kids Candy Scramble,” where kids five and under scrambled for sweet treats! Additionally, Saturday featured several hours of junior high and youth competition during the day where younger cowboys and cowgirls showcased their skills in the arena.
Standout performances in the high school competition included Ross Price from Chester, SC, and Kristen Lee from Richburg, SC. Price took the top spot in Saddle Bronc on Friday and followed it up with first in Saddle Bronc and Tie Down Roping on Saturday as well as third in Team Roping with Partner Bean Bishop to accumulate the most points overall in the boys’ events for the weekend.
Lee was a strong competitor in many events, earning second in Girls Breakaway, fourth in Cowgirls Pole Bending, and 7th in Girls Goat Tying Friday night. Lee followed it up with second in Breakaway, second in Team Roping with partner Dylan White, and second in Goat Tying on Saturday to take home the win.
In addition to competition in the arena, patrons enjoyed food, drinks and snacks from local favorites like The Sunflower Club Cafe, Chick-fil-A, and Mama K’s Kettle Corn as well as hamburgers, hot dogs, nachos, and sweet treats like Italian Ice, funnel cakes, and fried oreos. There was plenty of western paraphernalia to peruse between competitions as well as animal visits and photos with Red Barn Farm.
The Rodeo is made possible annually by the generosity of sponsors Griffin Masonry, Liberty Buick GMC Trucks, Mount Airy Chrysler Dodge Jeep and Ram, Chick-fil-A Albemarle Road and Mint Hill, Novant Health and Griffin Oil, but a look through the souvenir program printed by Kelly Office Solutions proves that those Gold, Silver and Bronze Star Sponsors are only part of the story.
In the lead-up to the event, Mint Hill Historical Society Executive Director Becky Griffin remarked that you’d be hard-pressed to find a business or organization in Mint Hill that didn’t contribute in some way. Funds raised from the Rodeo are an important part of supporting the Carl J. McEwen Historic Village and the many events offered by the Historical Society.
“I love to come to Mint Hill because the community and the committee work so well together,” remarked South Carolina Rodeo Association JR/HS National Director Lori Peyton. “It’s more of an urban setting than what we usually have rodeos in,” she continued, “so it’s really neat to communicate with folks that may not be from a rural area. Lots of people have lots of questions, and it’s such a great opportunity to just talk to them about what we do in the rodeo.”
In just five years, the Rodeo has come to be a beloved tradition of many Mint Hill residents who make a point of attending every year. “My friend Leah and I got there at 6:00 pm and set up our area for the kids we had with us,” said Sonya Dobbins, who arrived two hours before the main event to get up close and personal with the cowboys and cowgirls as they were exiting the chute. “She goes every year and this was my first time. All the kids loved it! From the opening ceremonies to all of the events, all the kids were very engaged!”
“I think the fifth year was a success!” concludes Peyton. “We had large crowds each night, and the community was just wonderful to deal with. We had two wonderful nights of rodeo, and we had a lot of kids do very well.”