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UGA's 45th Annual Great Southland Stampede Rodeo


The 45th Annual Great Southland Stampede Rodeo is back in Athens. The rodeo is operated entirely by the University of Georgia’s Block and Bridle Club, the student organization which has sponsored the event since it began. Caroline Hinton is the rodeo chairman.

“The rodeo all began in 1970 when a group of students in the Animal Science department actually wanted to create a fundraiser for the livestock judging team,” Hinton said.

The Rodeo was held in Stegeman Coliseum for several years beginning in 1974, before moving to Heritage Park in Oconee County in 2004. It was brought back the UGA campus in 2008.

UGA's Block and Bridle, which is part of the National Block and Bridle Club, promotes the agriculture industry state-wide. The club hosts various events, including livestock shows, fundraisers, student development events and more.  Committee members invite nearly 1,000 local elementary school students to the Special Events Rodeo for a chance to learn about America’s western heritage and the history of rodeo events.

Leah Thompson is the club president.

“As soon as rodeo ends this year, planning for the next begins,” according to Thompson. "That’s how we’ve been able keep it rolling form one student group to the next. The students are passionate about it, but it is definitely more challenging that a lot of rodeos because you’ve got a rolling se t of elected officers each year.”

Students spend a year learning the ropes and working the rodeo.

The show takes place at UGA Instructional Arena. The three-day event wraps up Saturday. For more information visit: www.gssrodeo.com.