South Congaree, SC – The town of South Congaree and the producers of the upcoming championship rodeo partnered last weekend to bring a barrel race, antique tractor pull, and barn dance to the small town just west of the Columbia Airport. The event was held at the equestrian arena that is owned by the recreation commission of Oak Street near the fire station.
The barrel races were well attended and a number of riders participated from across the region. There was an exhibition class for youngsters 19 and under that began at 3:00 p.m. followed by an open class an hour later. Riders of varying skill levels piloted their mounts around the barrels in the arena at varying speeds depending on their skill level and the experience of their horses. The crowd enjoyed the shade of the arena’s roof and a light breeze made the mid July temperatures almost bearable as the entertainment progressed. Several of the riders allowed some of the children in attendance to ride their mounts after the competition and a man who had driven a huge, mile-high monster truck to the event allowed the kids to climb in the back for a gentle ride around the arena prior to the end of the event.
At the appointed time, a long parade of antique tractors, led by the town’s mayor Danny Jones, made their way under the big top for a parade of grand proportions. Several of the guests assisted Councilperson Leslie Gifford in the judging of their equipment as they puttered and popped their way around the arena in a slow procession. Gift certificates, provided by Congaree Feed and Seed, were awarded to the winners in several categories that included which tractor you would most like to take home or give as a gift to the tractor lover in your life.
At 7 p.m. the crowd migrated to the newly built “little barn in the woods” which was built in the tradition of an old style barn raising on a wooded corner of the arena’s lot. The community building crew, led by Mayor Jones and other council members, included people who lived in and around the town that came after seeing the call for help with the construction on social media. “People came with hammers and saws in hand,” Jones said after the little building was completed. “We had ladies bring food and cold drinks and we worked every evening to raise the building in a collaborative effort that proved that this community can come together for the common good of the town.”
All except the treated limber was sawed right on site out of trees donated to the cause. Even the concrete for the dance floor was donated. In the end, the building which will serve as a stage and gathering area for a number of community events, was fully functional and ready to go just in time for Saturday’s event.
The Ace of Clubs band played popular tunes of several genres that included contemporary country, some beach, and classic southern rock and roll. Although only small children danced at first, eventually the adults gathered the courage to strut their stuff and the crowd on the dance floor grew as the evening got longer.
Jones said that the town plans to have at least a quarterly function on that site and the building will be available for booking other community, faith, and private events like family reunions and weddings. “This is not only a point of pride for our town, but a source of income for the community and a great addition to this wonderful facility,” Jones said in referring to the equestrian arena.
The barrel racing, antiques tractor parade, and barn dance were just the kickoff of the two-week rodeo extravaganza that will culminate this coming weekend with the first annual South Congaree Championship Rodeo. This is an IPRA sanctioned event that will feature bare back and saddle bronc riding, calf and team roping, and all of the other rodeo competition categories that are included in similar events that are held across the south and west during the season.
There will be three performances of the rodeo. One each on Friday and Saturday at 8 p.m. and a matinee on Sunday afternoon at 3:30 p.m. To buy tickets at a reduced rate off the gate price, or for more information on the rodeo, go to www.southcongareerodeo.com