FFA members from chapters in Smith, Rutherford, DeKalb, Cannon, Trousdale, Sumner, Davidson and Wilson counties are among those who plan to volunteer their time to work in the rodeo.
Started in 2010 by then-Lebanon Mayor Philip Craighead, his wife Darlene and a handful of volunteers, the rodeo, a two-night event, has become a major financial contributor to many local nonprofits and charities.
This year’s ninth annual Whip Crackin’ Rodeo will be April 27-28 at the James E. Ward Agricultural Center in Lebanon.
Partnering this year with those who have annually produced the rodeo is the Community Foundation of Wilson County, an affiliate organization of the Community Foundation of Middle Tennessee.
“We believe the rodeo this year is taking a major step forward as we have secured a new partner organization, the Community Foundation, and have also enlisted the volunteer service of FFA members from multiple nearby area counties,” said Craighead, who plans to continue in a leadership role with the rodeo.
Craighead said the state FFA Foundation, headquartered in Cookeville, is assuming a significant role with the rodeo this year to provide volunteers in a number of areas, including helping to sell advertisements in the rodeo program, soliciting rodeo sponsors and providing personnel for ticket sales, parking and other needs.
He said, because of the involvement of FFA members and the Community Foundation this year, there is considerable optimism that proceeds received by the rodeo will be significantly increased.
Bob Black, who chairs the Community Foundation of Wilson County board, said he believed a partnership with the Whip Crackin’ Rodeo is a “perfect fit” for all involved.
“I think our board and the relationships our board members have in the community can be helpful to Philip and others who have been actively associated with the rodeo since its beginning,” Black said.
“While the rodeo is entertaining for all ages and provides an environment for good family fun, it is also important to the many nonprofits and charities that receive financial support from the event each year.”