In its 43rd year, the event will span two days, Aug. 6-7, with competition beginning at 8 p.m. each night and gates opening at 6.
Tickets are $10 in advance and $12 at the gate for adults while children 6-12-years-old are $8 in advance and $10 at the gate. Children 5-and-under are free.
Proceeds from the International Professional Rodeo Association sanctioned event will benefit the Rockmart Lions Club and the Rockmart High School chapter of Future Farmers of America.
“It’s been the same time each year and everybody gets excited and looks forward to the first weekend in August,” said Haney, who owns the arena and produces the rodeo. “It brings a lot of people into town and is good for local businesses.”
He said that they will have skydivers drop into the arena to open the rodeo on Friday night and possibly Saturday as well with food and activities available for spectators.
A full slate of rodeo action will be on the schedule including bareback riding, steer wrestling, cowgirls barrel racing, calf roping and the always popular bull riding.
“This is a pro event and we’ll have competitors from 40 states competing for prize money as well as points,” Haney said.
Contestants earn points based on their finish in each event. These points accumulate throughout the year with the top 15 in each event earning a trip to the IPRA finals rodeo in Oklahoma City in January.
While competitors will be coming in from across the country, a number of local cowboys and cowgirls will take part as well, including Haney and his brother, Mike, and brothers Timothy and Joseph Podskoc.
Other events planned are a calf scramble for children and the “Save a Horse, Ride a Cowboy” competition where selected men carry women on their back and race around a barrel pattern for the quickest time.
The rodeo has been held at the Morgan Valley Road location since 1991 and, according to Haney, the venue stands as the largest outdoor facility of its kind east of the Mississippi River.
He said that he is beginning to look into holding more rodeos at the arena in the future including a possible three-day event along with an arts and crafts show.
“We’ve been working nonstop to try and get everything at the arena ready,” Haney said. “We’ve done a lot of improvements and are looking forward to a great rodeo.”