Chamber Rodeo set for this weekend

Published 9:16 am Tuesday, October 3, 2023

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It’s rodeo season and the Greater Brewton Area Chamber of Commerce is getting in on the action again this weekend.
The annual event is set for Friday and Saturday evening at the Brewton Municipal Arena at O’Bannon Park with gate opening at 6 p.m. and plenty of activities, food and fun planned throughout the weekend.
Clay Lisenby, Rodeo chairman for the Chamber event, said the two-day rodeo will offer plenty of action, fun and food for the entire family.
“We will have the ‘Mutton Bustin’ again this year which seems to be really popular for the younger children,” Lisenby said. “We will also have pony rides for children with real horses this year.”
Mutton Bustin’ will be available for children under 50 pounds and will feature a six-second ride on a sheep. The cost for the event is $5 per rider.
Tickets for the event will be available in advance until 5 p.m today (Wednesday) for $10. Tickets will be $15 at the gate each evening by cash only. Tickets for children under 12 will be $5.
Specialty acts and appearances will also be part of the two-day event including an appearance by Ashton Libel, Miss Rodeo Alabama. Mr. Bonjangles, led by trainer Jerry Thornton, will also be performing.
“Mr. Bonjangles’ story is really interesting,” Lisenby said. “He was rescued from Hurricane Katrina and has been a popular performer.”
Thornton is also a specialty act, and since the early 1980s, he has performed at rodeos across North America.
“I have different breeds of horses and have trained horses to do different things,” Thornton said in a previously published interview. “This horse has a unique personality. He’s a smaller horse, probably 14.1 hands tall. Nobody knew where he came from.
“He was like a yearling when I got him. He had stood in water for three weeks, and because he was taller than most of them, there were animals that had lived on his back to stay out of the water. Nobody would claim him after the hurricane.”
Thornton and Bojangles will perform a liberty act, where the animal is directed to follow commands and showcase the relationship between horse and trainer without the trainer being on the horse or holding the reins. Fans will see the communication it takes for trainer and horse to work together.
“What drives me is the idea of getting these unique horses to perform and do different stunts,” Thornton said. “I’ve been doing this since I was 16 years old, and this is something I still really enjoy.”
Over the years, Thornton has shown many incredible horses. He was part of the Command Performance Rodeo that was produced in 1982 for President Ronald Reagan, and he has seen a great deal of the United States while showing many others his training prowess.
You can catch Thornton and Mr. Bonjangles on both Friday and Saturday nights at the PCA Rodeo event.