South Congaree, SC (Paul Kirby) – The second annual South Congaree Pro Rodeo, as expected, was a huge success. The crowds swelled on Saturday night as the stands were even closer to capacity than the great turn-out that came for the Friday night show.
The rodeo, organized and promoted by Buck Coggins and Rance Woodley, who also present the annual DOKO Rodeo in Blythewood, said they see nothing but good things ahead for the South Congaree event. Both agreed that they will be back for 2018 on the last weekend of July for the third straight year.
South Congaree’s Mayor Danny Jones said that he was all smiles after seeing what the event was becoming. “This is a huge boost for our area, and I am honored to see the promoters, business. community, and the government work so closely together to make this family friendly event such a success.” Jones went on to say that he had met visitors from many other communities and states, and all agreed that this weekend’s rodeo was one they’d be back for again next year.
One saddle bronc rider who was from Georgia, said that he traveled to South Congaree because it had such a stellar reputation on the IPRA circuit. “The added money, and the size of the purses here makes this rodeo a must attend if you are really serious about being in the chase for this year’s championship,” he said during a Friday night conversation in a local store. “When each dollar won equals a point towards the IPRA championship, there’s few of us that will stay away from South Congaree when so much is up for grabs.” The annual IPRA Championship is held In Oklahoma at the end of the season, and titles are awarded to the cowboys, cowgirls, and livestock at that event. Rodeos like South Congaree’s also can receive recognition and titles for the events themselves.
Clifford Fisher, a local businessman, said that this event is also a great fundraiser for the passion play scheduled again in December of this year at the arena. “The funds we raise here during the rodeo allows us to support a part of the expenses of Jesus is His Name. That event drew large crowds to this area last year,” Fisher said. “We expect the crowds this year to be even bigger as people hear more about that play, and its message.” Jesus is His Name is a remake of the passion play, This Man Called Jesus, that was held for many years at Lake Murray Baptist Church. Over the years, that event drew hundreds of thousands of visitors from all over the southeast to see and enjoy it.
Ken Treadway, the stock contractor for the South Congaree Rodeo, is said to be showing some interest in doing other events on other dates in South Congaree. The facility is owned by the Lexington County Recreation and Aging Commission and is unlike any other in the state and region. The fact that South Congaree’s arena is covered makes it attractive for events of other types as well.
Businesses around town and the area in general see an influx of out of town dollars during the rodeo weekend. The host hotel reported being at capacity, and tourists came from across the state and the region to attend for the entertainment.
South Congaree’s Police Chief Josh Shumpert said that for the most part, the crowd and riders were all well behaved and orderly. “This is a family event, and everyone knows it,” Shumpert said. “It already has a reputation as a place where children and families can come and enjoy the rodeo without any unpleasantness.”
The promoters have said that they are already in talks with other, surrounding government officials, about how they can expand the the rodeo to benefit even more communities. The exact figures for the crowds have not been compiled by the promoters yet, but most believe that the influx of the huge crowds had a positive impact on other towns and cities like Springdale, Cayce, and West Columbia that surround the arena.