BY A.J. DUGGER III
Franklin children and families got the chance to experience the animals, clowns and cowboys at the “Down in the Dirt Kick-Off” event on Wednesday night.
The event ran from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. at the Williamson County Ag Expo as a preview for the Franklin Rodeo. The 68th annual Franklin Rodeo will begins Thursday and will run through Saturday.
This event provided the rare chance for people to get to interact with the rodeo performers and animals on a personal level.
“The place is packed with children. They’re running around everywhere. How often do you get to come down to the dirt and get up close and personal with the horses and bulls?” said Ruth Nicolaus, publicist for the Franklin Rodeo.
Laughter and screams of children echoed around the area while booths sold items such as t-shirts, cowboy hats, and belts. A band called Smith & Wesley had an audience of people square-dancing to their music. They also performed their new single, “The Little Things.”
Dusty Myers is one of the rodeo clowns. He made time to speak to the Franklin Home Page as he signed autographs and entertained the wide-eyed children.
“I am from Jumpertown, Mississippi. This is my tenth year in the rodeo business,” said Myers. “I’ve been all over the country. This is my first trip to Franklin. I’ve been looking forward to this for over a year. I was hired for this a year ago and I’m happy to be here. They say this is a great rodeo.”
Myers will perform comedy skits throughout the show. “I come in-between the bull action. I sing some songs and do other fun things to entertain and interact with the crowd.”
Despite the great entertainment, one of the most important things to the Rodeo’s staff is the impact it has on the lives of the less fortunate. “The proceeds go to charity after the bills are paid. For the last 67 years we have given $2 million to charity,” said Nicolaus.
Some of the charities involved include Habitat for Humanity, 4-H, Boys and Girls Club and Tucker’s house. The Franklin Rodeo is presented by The Franklin Noon Rotary Club.
For more information on tickets and events at this year’s rodeo, visit franklinrodeo.com.