Meridian Star

January 5, 2014

Rodeo championships coming to Philadelphia

By Brian Livingston /
The Meridian Star

MERIDIAN —     There will be a lot of riding, roping, and holding on for dear life next week when the Southeastern Professional Finals Rodeo stampedes into Philadelphia.

    The rodeo will be held Jan. 9 through 11 at the Neshoba County Coliseum each night beginning at 7 p.m. and showcase the top 15 cowboys and cowgirls in several categories.

    "These are the top men and women, and American livestock contractors in the Southeast," said Bill Hudson, chairman of the Southeast Professional Rodeo Association. "The riders are exceptional and the livestock is the best in the Southeast."

    Ray Lilley, who is the director of the Neshoba County Coliseum, said this is the year ending, big championship event for the SPRA. He said these are the cream of the crop and they are eager to show their rodeo skills to the people in the area.

    "They have rode hard all year and accumulated points and money to qualify for this so there is no backing down from any of them," Lilley said of the riders. "We have some locals who will be competing, so that should help in bringing in the crowds. The rest of the participants are from all across the Southeast."

    Competitors will be trying to win titles in calf roping, team roping and ladies breakaway roping; and barrel racing, bareback bronc riding and bull riding.

    And there is more.

    "There will be vendors of all kinds at the event selling western wear, food and offering rides on a mechanical bull," Lilley said. "This is Americana at its best and something the whole family can enjoy."

    Hudson said the caliber of the competitors is the best he has seen in tthe last several years. He also said the livestock, in particular the bulls, is exceptional as well.

    "The Bull of the Year, Oscar, will be there," Hudson said, adding the bull belongs to him. "We realize a lot of people root for the bull, rather than the rider. That is just part of the fun of a rodeo."

    Tickets will be on sale the day of the event and will cost $10 for adults, and $8 for children 6-12. The box office will open from 8 am. to 12 noon. General admission tickets at the gate the night of the event will be $12 for adults and $10 for children 6-12. Children 5 years old and younger get in free. The gates will open at 5:30 p.m. each day of the event with the competitions set to start at 7 p.m.

    The Neshoba County Coliseum is located at 12000 Highway 15 North.