Today is Monday, August 21, 2017

Rodeo bulls roundup a success

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Approximately 77 wooden bulls were placed in front of local businesses last week to show support for the National Junior High Rodeo Finals, according to the Lebanon/Wilson Chamber of Commerce.

The event, held at the James E. Ward Agricultural Center in Lebanon, brought more than 1,000 participants and their families to town June 19-26 for the 2016 event - and promised to return next year for the 2017 Finals.

These "bulls" didn't come cheap - with a price tag of $250 for one year and $400 for both - however, the shop owners who spoke with The Wilson Post saw a return on their investment.

The rodeo positively impacted eateries like Tom's Blue Moon BBQ, Shoney's, Chick-fil-A and supply store, Edwards Feed.

Shoney's General Manger Stephen Cook said they saw hundreds of people from the rodeo in their restaurant.

"Most of them seemed to really enjoy it," he said. "We did a signup sheet, where anybody from the rodeo could write-in where they are from and the event they competed in. We filled up five or six pages."

Cook noted that they also fed one national champion contestant.

Chick-fil-A Operator Carlton Beall said their sales were also up.

"For us, we had a great week. It is a busy time of the year, so we were staffed and ready to go," he said. "We saw a lot of rodeo participants, and I thought it was a great success."

Beall also added that he was proud of the Chick-fil-A staff.

"I think we have successes because of the people we have on our team. We're able to serve a great product - fast and friendly," he said.

Although the preliminary rodeo numbers weren't in the ten thousands, as hoped, it is currently estimated that at least 5,000 were in Wilson County for the event.

In an earlier interview, Wilson Convention of Visitors Bureau Executive Director Terri Merryman said that she had heard participants comment on all the great places to dine in town and their love of "good country cooking."

Tom's Blue Moon BBQ, which is located near the Ag Center, saw a 15 to 20 percent increase in business.

Owner Todd Beaird said they opened on Monday, June 20, to accommodate participants - their usually days of operation are Tuesday thru Sunday.

"We extended our hours that week," Beaird said, commenting that this time of the year is their busiest. "We did see an increase."

It wasn't just the humans who ate well during their stay. Tashina Brown with Edwards Feed said she saw 30 to 40 shoppers from the rodeo in the store.

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