Stampede headed toward Hamilton

HAMILTON — The second annual Marion County Stampede will take place this weekend from May 5-6, with a rodeo and downtown Cowboy Day festival.
This year’s rodeo follows the successful and award-winning inaugural event last year, which won several awards including the best new rodeo of the year award.
The rodeo will begin on Friday night and gates will open at 5, with mutton busting for children six and under at 6:30, and the rest of the rodeo after that at around 7:30 until about 9:30-10:30 that night, according to event coordinator Matt MacCracken.
The rodeo arena will be set up just off of I-22 exit 14, on County Highway 35, in a field behind the Tombigbee plant.
MacCracken went into detail about the rodeo and Cowboy Day.
“We were affiliated with the Professional Cowboy Association last year. This year will be with IPRA (International Professional Rodeo Association) and the NCPRA (National Cowboy Pro Rodeo Association) event,” he said. “Most of our contestants that’ll be coming, as I understand it, participate in all of those different organizations.”
“We’ve got some new entertainment lined up this year. Jeremy Smith with Deep South Rodeo Productions, our contractor, is doing a great job getting everything lined up.
“We’re looking for a big turnout of people, and this should be an awesome weekend for rodeoing, not only on Friday and Saturday night, but Cowboy Day downtown Saturday morning from 9-2. There will be merchants set up downtown. Last year, a lot of people offered discounts if you have western wear on when you come in and shop in the store for participating in Cowboy Day.”
MacCracken also said that a historical reenactment group will be camping in Hamilton over the weekend.
“The group ‘Have Guns, Will Travel’ will be staying in town that weekend,” he said. “They’ll come in Friday afternoon and they’ll camp—they do primitive camping. They’ll camp at the Hamilton House, which is right next to the Marion County Commission Office. They’ll come over four or five times and do some reenactments where they have things like old west shootouts. They have four or five different reenactments they do for the folks that attend Cowboy Day to enjoy. It was a lot of fun last year, and I expect them to be as much or more this year.”
MacCracken said he didn’t realize how big of a deal the rodeo would be when the first Stampede was being set up last year.
“Actually, Jeremy Smith and Dale Ray came to us,” he said. “They came to Hamilton, and they’re rodeo contractors, so they go all over the Southeast doing rodeos, and they looked and said, ‘Here’s a spot that nobody’s rodeoing in.’
“I didn’t realize there was such a following of rodeoing, but come to find out, there’s a lot of people around here who love rodeos, and they support rodeos, and we’re looking forward to having them with us May 5-6 for the second annual Marion County Stampede.
“There’s no way that this rodeo could happen without all the folks who sponsor the rodeo, businesses that have sponsored, city and county governments have sponsored and the people who come. We need people to show up and enjoy it, because that’s what it’s all about. Rodeoing is all about God, family and country, and that’s what they’re going to display out there this weekend.”

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