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Martin, TN 50th Annual rodeo

The National Intercollegiate Rodeo Association is comprised of eleven regions from Washington State to Tennessee. Martin, TN sits in northwest Tennessee somewhat isolated from the large urban cities in Tennessee. However, one event in particular attracts thousands of people every year, the UT Martin Annual Rodeo.

Arena staff pray prior to the opening night of the 50th annual UT Martin Rodeo. The staff stand, mostly made up of locals, operate the transitioning of animals and load the chutes for the riders.
(Left) The official UT Martin Rodeo Clown waves into the audience during the opening ceremonies of the 50th Annual UT Martin Rodeo. (Right) A rodeo employee is seen from a far during opening prayer. The rodeo is a very patriotic environment, most of the opening ceremony was dedicated to belief in god and dedication to standing during the National Anthem. A controversial subject from the pervious NFL season when players decided to kneel during the Anthem prior to games.
Miss Rodeo USA rides around the arena during the National Anthem during the opening ceremonies of the UT Martin Annual Rodeo.
The opening ceremonies consisted of fast riding, local high school girls, and country music. It would be the most energized part of the evening, other than the energy of Bull Riding, and would lead right into events. Rodeo is most comparable to Track and Field minus the multiple events. You have individual scores and team scores, athlete spread sheets, and multiple categories of events.
UT Martin has a surprising strong Greek system that was represented everywhere. Sponsors and t-shirts all over the arena carried greek lettering from all over campus. When I talked to students in the stands most of them were there to support brothers and sisters from greek affiliation. On the right members of different houses chase after and attempt to wrestle a calf, sporting their individual houses lettering.
Walking out of the arena after night one most people are already back to their campers. The official UT Martin trailer is seen and a couple tied up horses are seen in the foggy practice ring.
UT Martin riders enter the arena during the beginning of the second nights opening ceremonies.
FAMILY was one a clear driving culture of the UT Martin Rodeo. Whether thats from the stands or involvement on the floor of the arena. Outside you find moms and dads helping their kids on animals, preparing for riding, and cheering. TOP are parents recording and cheering on their middle school and high school students on the drill team (seen on the bottom left). No matter what sport I cover across the country the value of family support trends across demographics.
Like the day prior once the ceremonies conclude individual event begin like any other sport. Steer wrestling, team roping, bull riding, barrels racing, calf roping, and steer riding. The event in total lasted two hours and repeated itself all three nights. During the above Friday night competition Martin saw a sold our arena for its annual rodeo.
Created By
Evan De Stefano
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@evan_destefano

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