The sixth annual Camellia City Rodeo is coming back this weekend, but this time there will be new cowboys, and many of them are from the area. Thomson residents Jammie and Liz Smith bring the rodeo to McDuffie County every year.
Mrs. Smith said the past rodeos have all been by the same professional rodeo company, "and it got to be the same old things," but this year will feature the Flat Rock Rodeo Company from Royston, Ga.
"It's just a different company, a different twist, I think it'll be a whole lot better," she said.
The show will have the same activities such as bareback riding, saddle bronc, calf roping, bull riding and barrel racing. Mrs. Smith said there will be the usual games for children and the adults to participate in.
Those attending the show might be surprised to recognize the names of some of the participants this year. Warrenton's Martha Phelps will be riding Friday night in the barrel racing. Ms. Phelps has been riding for 25 years, has placed second out of 124 riders, and was the winner of the National Barrel Horse Associations Dixie Nationals in 2003.
Janet Phelps, also from Warrenton, will be riding Saturday night. She has been riding for 15 years, and recently placed fifth in a NBHA event.
Other local participants include Rick Thomson from Thomson, who will be bull riding and Larry Wiley from Grovetown who will be calf roping.
The Smiths have been involved in rodeos for years. Mrs. Smith said her husband "used to do rodeo clowning until he got too fat and too old." She became interested in the sport through her husband's involvement.
"I wasn't a rodeo queen at all. I was completely opposite, but I have now converted over to the rodeo," she said.
Proceeds from the rodeo benefit the Lion's Club. The rodeo will be at 8 p.m. Friday, June 23, and Saturday, June 24, at the Thomson Lions' Club Fairgrounds. Bleachers are provided, and people may also bring their own chairs. Tickets are $12 for adults, $6 for children ages 5-12, and free for those younger than four years old.
For more information, contact the Smiths at 706-466-1393 or 706-595-3381.