The story would have to involve the beginning of the rodeo 32 years ago on the Phillips Ranch east of Resaca. In 1980 Larry Phillips first exposed North Georgia to the skills, thrills, chills and dangers displayed by talented cowboys and cowgirls.
So, here we are 32 years after the founding of the Phillips Championship Rodeo with the 2012 Tour. In the beginning, different clubs, organizations and civic groups supported the rodeo in a big way. The Calhoun Optimist Club was the first organization involved in sponsorship of the rodeo. This year Phillips Rodeo has joined forces with Gordon Hospital to spread the word about breast cancer awareness with the “Tough Enough To Wear Pink” theme. All fans are asked to wear pink to the rodeo in an effort to raise awareness about breast cancer. The goal is to “Pink-Out” the rodeo area. Bridgett Phillips has successfully fought a battle with the disease undergoing surgery and treatment.
Larry Phillips, founder of Phillips Rodeo Productions died suddenly in 2001. The rodeo story did not end. A remarkable aspect of the story is that the rodeo began as a family affair and it continues as such. Larry’s son, Danny, along with his wife Bridgett and their two daughters Danielle and Sage, kept the event alive.
Worthy of attention is Larry Phillips motive for founding the rodeo. Phillips had grown up in a time with Gene Autry, Roy Rogers, Western shows on TV and the Saturday cowboy movies at the old Gem Theater. Also, people of his age had grown up on the farm with cows, mules, horses and other animals. That era was fading from exposure to a younger generation. Larry wanted to preserve for a younger generation a flavor and heritage of the reality of life around the horses and bulls of just a few generations back. The rodeo will feature cowboys and cowgirls from all over the southeastern part of the United States, as well as, several local contestants. Rodeo athletes will be competing in events like calf roping, team roping, bronc riding and the most dangerous event, bull riding.
For those “Tough Enough To Wear Pink,” head to Resaca and go east on Hwy. 136, turn left on Mt. Zion road and travel one mile to the arena on the right at Phillips Ranch as the 31 year tradition continues. Tickets can be purchase at the gate. Adult tickets are $10 and children tickets (age 4-8) are $5. Children 3 and under free. For more information please call 706-218-0382 or via Facebook at Phillips Championship Rodeo.