"We get a lot of outside competitors but there's also a lot of locals that are going to compete," said Kristina Harbeke, member and past treasurer of the Bartow County Saddle Club. "There's a bull rider that works at our local tractor supply store and actually there's a lot of our girls that belong to the saddle club that are going to be competing in the barrel racing. Even my daughter will be barrel racing this weekend. So they're going to come from all over.
"[The rodeo] is a big family-[oriented] event. I think people look forward to it every year because we have done it for so many years in a row. Everybody looks forward to it because it's a lot of fun."
Located at 43 Saddle Club Drive -- off Bingham Road -- in Cartersville, the saddle club's arena welcomes between 3,000 and 3,500 people each night during the two-day rodeo. Serving as the saddle club's largest fundraiser of the year, the rodeo's proceeds benefit a wide variety of the organization's philanthropic efforts.
"We furnish shoes for Hickory Log [Vocational] School and we also furnish shoes for the county and city schools at the recommendation of [their] teachers," said Wayne J. Allen, who, along with his wife, joined the club at its inception in the early 1960s. "In the past, we have put a room on the hospital, where now the nursing home [is located] there but at that time it was Sam Howell Hospital. We have contributed to many, many charities and individuals throughout the county.
"We are all strictly volunteer. We're a [501(c)(3)] organization. ... [Being a member of the saddle club], you become a part of the community. ... What it boils down to is giving people of like minds the opportunity to gather together to try to do a common good where by themselves they may not be able to."
Tickets for the rodeo are $10 for adults, $5 for children ages 5 to 8 and youth younger than 5 will be admitted for free. For more information, call 770-382-8687 or visit www.bartowcountysaddleclub.com.