Phillips Rodeo to feature PBR’s Willingham, local family
everyone to come out and have a good time.”
The rodeo will be held on Friday and Saturday with the action getting started at 8 p.m. both nights. Tickets at the gate are $12 for general admission and $8 for children ages 5-9. Children 4-under get in free and parking is also free.
The rodeo was founded in 1980 by Larry Phillips and continued after his death in 2001 as his son Danny, along with Bridget, Danielle and Sage carried the torch forward. In 2001, the name was changed to the Larry Phillips Memorial Championship Rodeo.
The theme once again this year is “Tough Enough to Wear Pink” to raise awareness for Breast Cancer. All fans are asked to wear pink to the rodeo with the goal being to “Pink-out” the arena. Bridgett Phillips is a breast cancer survivor herself so it is a cause near and dear to herself and her family. Breast cancer survivors attending the rodeo will be honored and given VIP special treatment.
As a bonus this year, Sean Willingham will be among those competing at the rodeo. Willingham, who lives in Summerville, is an accomplished rider for the PBR (Professional Bull Riders) circuit with a large following. He has announced that this will be his last year competing on the PBR circuit.
“We’re really excited to have (Sean Willingham) here this year,” said Bridgett Phillips. “He’s competing in Professional Cowboy Association rodeos when he’s not doing PBR, and he is a very talented and successful bull rider. I was a little surprised when I was taking names for entrants and his was one of them. He’s done a lot in the sport has a lot of people that follow him.”
The two nights will also be special for the Thomas family, who resides in the area, and for them rodeo is a lifestyle that’s been passed down to the next generation. Matt and his wife Julie, who is a Calhoun Elementary teacher, have been competing since they were kids, and they have passed that love of the sport on to their sons, Tate and Logan. Tate recently graduated from Sonoraville High and signed a college rodeo scholarship with Weatherford College. Matt’s brother, Clint, who is deaf also competes in rodeo and will be competing with the rest of the family this weekend.
“It’s really to have a rodeo right here in this area and not have to travel so far like we do a lot, but this Phillips Rodeo is also a big part of this community,” said Julie Thomas. “Larry (Phillips) started this many years ago to promote rodeo in this area, and for our family to be a part of it and continue to promote the rodeo and the sport is special. We really enjoy being a part of it.
“My husband and I have done this all our lives and went on to do it in college on scholarships, and our kids got interested in it growing up. It’s really nice to do this as a family and be there to support each other like we will be this weekend. We rely on each other a lot, and it has really brought us closer as a family.”
Julie Thomas added that her brother-in-law Clint hasn’t allowed his disability to hinder him in any way while competing in rodeo.
“Clint was born deaf, and most people would look at that as a handicap, but it hasn’t stopped him from competing and not only competing, but succeeding in those competitions. He’s been doing it for years and hasn’t ever let being deaf hold him back.”
For more information about the rodeo, visit www. phillipsrodeo. com or follow them on Facebook or Instagram at Phillips Championship Rodeo.
( Professional Bull Rider Sean Willingham will be one of the featured attractions at the Phillips Championship Rodeo this weekend. ( Julie Thomas, of Calhoun, and her family will be competing in several events.
Tate Thomas, a recent Sonoraville High graduate, will be competing this weekend in Resaca.