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2016 Jr. High Rodeo set for June 19-25 at the James E. Ward Ag Center

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A wooden bull to welcome the 2016 Jr. High Rodeo crowd stands outside of Cox's on West Main in Lebanon. Adorned with a pearl necklace and earrings - the bull reflects Cox's which sells jewelry and other gifts. SABRINA GARRETT/The Wilson Post

Before long the 2016 Jr. High Rodeo will be kicking up dust at the James E. Ward Ag Center.

Events scheduled for June 19-25 are expected to bring more than 1,000 participants - plus a crowd totaling 10,000 people - to town. Local businesses have found a creative way to show their support.

District 23 County Commissioner Sue Vanatta said the idea for placing wooden bulls outside of businesses was discovered on a trip to Rock Springs, Wyoming, by Ag Center Director Larry Tomlinson and District 14 County Commissioner Jeff Joines.

"We saw all these bulls and asked what they were," Tomlinson said. "It is just a way to show support. These rodeo people are real loyal to the people who are loyal and supportive to them."

In other words, having a wooden bull outside the storefront is a sure way to attract business when guests come to town in two weeks. Tomlinson said folks will begin arriving on June 16 to prepare for June 19's opening festivities.

Vanatta said that the Lebanon High Vocational School started building the bulls. When the orders became more than they could supply, Tomlinson said Chuck York, who has a woodworking shop, took over.

"There are at least 60 bulls that have bene sold. Maybe more," he said.

The bulls, which are seven feet long and five feet tall, are $250 for one year and $400 for two years. The national Jr. High Rodeo has committed to come to Lebanon for 2016 and 2017 events.

"I think it is building a whole lot of momentum. I've had people see the bulls around town and ask about it," Tomlinson said, noting that the Lebanon-Wilson Chamber of Commerce has also done a lot to help. "They are filling up goodie bags for 1,400 with coupons and other things."

Free posters are also being printed to display in businesses.

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