Rodeo brings roping and riding to Wilson

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The oldest sport in the United States makes a weekend appearance in Wilson on June 1 and 2 when the Double Creek Pro Rodeo rides into town and takes over the Wilson County Fairgrounds.

The rodeo will feature bareback riding, saddle riding, calf roping, breakaway roping, team roping, cowgirl barrel racing and, of course, bull riding.

Gates open at 6 p.m., and events run from 8 to 10:30 p.m. both Friday and Saturday nights. Pony rides, a mechanical bull, vendors and concessions will be available.

The Wilson rodeo is sanctioned by Southern Rodeo Association, meaning competitors earn points which add up to allow riders to compete at the Southern finals rodeo. This is a 12-month season, with the next starting immediately after the finals, which will be held this year on the first weekend in November in Asheville.

“Some weekends there might be six or seven rodeos going on at the same time,” said Dennis “Strawberry” Pruitt, owner of Double Creek Pro Rodeo and rodeo promoter. “The competitions and riders are mostly from Virginia, Tennessee, North Carolina, South Carolina, Geogia, Alabama and Florida.”

Pruitt, who lives in Spartanburg, South Carolina, has been involved with rodeos for close to 40 years. He spends approximately 25 weekends of the year on the road with his rodeos.

“There is a certain group of people who try to go to all of our rodeos, but they are still very competitive with each other,” Pruitt said. “But it’s just like a big family that gets together almost every week.”

Tickets for the rodeo are available the evenings of the shows and are $15 (ages 12 and up), $10 (ages 3 to11) and free for ages 2 and under.