Today is Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Letter to the editor

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To the Editor:

It's hard to believe that seven years of fun and excitement provided by our Charity Whip Crackin' Rodeo have come and gone. This year, we were blessed with a beautiful weekend (weather wise), a huge turnout, talented cowboys and cowgirls and sponsors who care greatly for our community and people who need help to survive these times.

Without sponsorship support, events like the rodeo could not be presented to our community. We are able to enjoy quality family entertainment while providing an economic impact and needed funds to support our local charities. To date, we have been able to distribute over $300,000 to local, deserving charities.

This year, we were able to provide a very special day to over 500 special needs children with a day filled full of activities and enjoyment. The experience included lots of games and prizes. The kids had the opportunity to ride horses, pet numerous farm animals and see a few of the events which are held during the rodeo. Michelle Hill's Empower Me Day Camp was on hand to make sure the Special Events Day was well-organized and a huge success. Michelle adds that special touch to any event.

Once again our local businesses stepped up to support our community. Our Platinum Sponsors were Permobil, Prices Collision Centers and Wilson Bank & Trust. Our Gold Sponsors were Bays Southern Bread, Boot Barn, Capitol Theatre, Civil Site Design Group, Craighead Home Sales, Goodall Homes, John Greer's State Farm Insurance, Gross Builders - Hamilton Station, Johnson Controls, Lochinvar Corporation, LoJac, Manheim Auto Auction, Middle Tennessee Electric, Novamet, Ragan-Smith Associates, Rose Tire, THW Insurance Services, Tickets Nashville, Visionary Design Group, Wilson County Chevrolet Buick GMC Hyundai and the Wilson Post. Our Chute Gate Sponsors were Austermiller Roofing, Centurion Stone, Fakes & Hooker, Harris Scrap Metal, Jack Pratt Jr., Pinnacle Financial Partners, Shenandoah Mills, Signs Now, Tennova Healthcare - Lebanon (UMC), Vanderbilt Children's After-Hours Clinic and Water Management. Our Events Sponsors were 811 - Tennessee One Call, Wilson County 911, City of Lebanon Gas Department and Crockett Surveying. Friends of the Rodeo Sponsors were Cedar City RV, Chick-fil-A, Lebanon Democrat, Southern STARRS, Two Fat Men Catering, WANT/WCOR and Wilson County Community Partnership.

Each year our local Boy Scout Troop 360 plays a role in welcoming the visitors with programs and cowboy line-ups at the gates and also taking care of the clean up each evening. This year, Scout Troop 643 joined in. We want to recognize Scout Masters Bart Sims and Chris Crowell and all the Scouts for their assistance. They came early and stayed late. We salute these outstanding young men - our future.

Our community is blessed with tremendous musical talent. This year, Kristine Phillips and Nathaniel Paul, vocal performance students from MTSU, proudly sang our National Anthem as our nation's flag was carried by a cowgirl on horseback.

Very special thanks to Debbie Jessen, who was instrumental in the rodeo's success. Each year, she has been a driving force behind the scenes. A special thanks needs to be expressed to all the volunteers, media, the James E. Ward Ag Center employees and the Lone Star Rodeo family. Thank you once again to all the sponsors.

Through everyone's support, we will once again be able to distribute an estimated $50,000-plus to local charities which support so many in our city.

Plans are being made for next year, so if you weren't able to attend this past year we look forward to seeing you during the fourth weekend in April 2017.

Please support those who support our community.

God Bless you all,

Philip and Darlene Craighead

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