The Meridian Star
Ralph Morgan still remembers the first rodeo he ever put on ––150 rodeos later, he's still at it.
Sunday's 74th Semi-Annual Ralph Morgan Pro Rodeo was the 150th rodeo in the event's history, as fans from all over Lauderdale County packed Ralph Morgan Arena to come out and watch some of the best cowboys from around the nation compete.
“The first rodeo we had, we didn't have but a few people,” Ralph Morgan said. “We didn't have that big of a rodeo, but as it went on, it got bigger and bigger each year.”
Morgan, who used to participate professionally in rodeos himself, teamed up with fellow professional rodeo member Tom Stiner 37 years ago to bring a professional rodeo to Lauderdale. The plan –– allow Morgan to enjoy a rodeo with his friends.
“I like to have a home rodeo for my friends,” Morgan said. “It means a whole lot to have all your friends around you.”
Morgan said he has never missed a rodeo and doesn't plan on doing so anytime soon. Now just a spectator, Morgan is brought back to his glory days and sometimes even longs for the times when it was him being cheered on by fans in the center of the arena.
“I miss it,” Morgan said. “But there is nothing you can do about it when you get to a certain age. A lot of people will tell you they wouldn't turn back time, but I'd sure like to turn back to when I was 30 years old again.”
Morgan is not the only one who holds the rodeo in high regard, as the event typically brings out about 2,500 spectators per event. Rodeo announcer Andy Stewart has been calling rodeos across the nation for 21 years and said the Ralph Morgan Rodeo is one of his favorites.
“This rodeo is unique,” Stewart said. “It's so community oriented and family oriented. It's got a real down-home feel to it, so we really enjoy that. The action is good and exciting, and the hospitality is unsurpassed. Ralph really rolls out the red carpet for all of us, and we just love it here.”