While there won’t be a Whip Crackin’ Rodeo this year, Bob Black, chairman of The Community Foundation of Wilson County, sponsor of the event, said this week plans are being made to make financial contributions to almost two dozen local nonprofits from the 2019 surplus rodeo fund.
Black said the contributions to be made this year to area charities won’t be “nearly as large” as in past years, explaining that this year the funding will be coming from a reserve fund maintained by the rodeo.
The Whip Crackin’ Rodeo, held annually in April at the Ward Agricultural Center, was canceled this year because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Attempts were made to reschedule the rodeo for later in the year, but, because of conflicts with events previously scheduled at the Ward Center and with the company that produces the rodeo, organizers were forced to cancel the event this year.
Black noted however that the rodeo is on the calendar for 2021 and that April 23 and 24 have been reserved at the Ward Agricultural Center. Each year proceeds from the rodeo, held annually for the past 10 years, are contributed to local nonprofits. Initiated by former Lebanon Mayor Philip Craighead and his wife Darlene, the role of host sponsor for the rodeo was transferred last year to The Community Foundation of Wilson County, an affiliate of The Community Foundation of Middle Tennessee.
“We’re very disappointed to have to cancel this year’s rodeo. But like so many other events, this too was something that had to be done because of the coronavirus,” Black said.
He thanked those who had already made a commitment to be a rodeo sponsor this year, the volunteers who had agreed to work the two nights scheduled including a large contingent of FFA members, and others who help make the rodeo possible.
“We’re already making plans and looking forward to next year. We’re confident that 2021 will be a very good year and that our Whip Crackin’ Rodeo will be better than ever,” Black said.
In making the announcement about providing grants to nonprofits this year from the rodeo fund Black said he and other board members believed it was important to continue supporting the charities even though there would not be a rodeo.
“Many of these nonprofits are struggling at this time as many of us are. They need this support. We’ll find a way to replenish our fund next year but for now we’re committed to doing what we can to help these local charities,” Black said.
The list of nonprofits to receive contributions include Brooks House, Wilson County CASA, Empower Me Day Camp, Wilson County Community Partnership, Lebanon Senior Citizens Center, Wilson County Community Help Center, Cedar Croft, Habitat for Humanity Wilson County, New Leash on Life, Lebanon Black History Committee, Lebanon Special School District Back Pack Program, Southern Stars, Cedar Seniors, Healing Broken Vessels, Joseph’s Storehouse, Prospect Child Development, Wilson County Seniors Civic League, Sherry’s Run, Books From Birth, Cumberland University Notes for Nurses, Historic Lebanon, and Rotary Youth Baseball.
Submitted to the Democrat