Philanthropic service has always been a priority to Auburn men and women over the years. For the brothers of Auburn University’s FarmHouse Fraternity, however, service has taken the form of hard work and dedication, also known to many as the FarmHouse Rodeo Classic.
The 7th Annual FarmHouse Rodeo Classic will take place at Adams Farm on Sandhill Road this Friday, Sept. 14. The rodeo, benefiting Storybrook Farms in Opelika, will include bull riding, bronco riding, steer wrestling and many other non-traditional rodeo events.
“We have always had a tight relationship with Storybrook Farms, and we love to help them out in any way that we can,” said Cole Carter, this year’s Director of FarmHouse Rodeo. “We really helped them get off the ground, and each year we are a key donor to keep their program growing. All ticket proceeds from the rodeo will go straight to them.”
The donations raised from the FarmHouse Rodeo Classic benefit Storybook Farms, an equine-assisted activities facility for children located in Opelika. According to their website, this Christian-centered non-profit organization assists children and young adults who are challenged with life-threatening illnesses, disabilities, trauma and grief.
“The FarmHouse brothers have been so great to us at Storybrook Farms,” said Dena Little, Director of Storybrook Farms. “They have really gone above and beyond to partner with us to help continue our Hope on Horseback program.”
The FarmHouse Fraternity’s involvement with Storybrook Farms began in 2004. The men provided assistance and physical labor on the farm, as well as helped care for the horses and mentor the children. Two years later, the fraternity decided to take their efforts one step further and established the FarmHouse Rodeo Classic.
“We do a lot of work to prepare for the rodeo,” said Carter. “The brothers do everything from helping at the farm, to selling tickets, t-shirts and setting up the rodeo site.”
This hard work and dedication is what has made the rodeo such a success, and will keep the rodeo going for many years to come.
“I ride in many rodeos all over the southeast each year, but the FarmHouse Rodeo is always one of my favorite rodeos to attend,” said Opelika native and bull rider Chance Lawrence. “Not only is it nice to be able to rodeo with so many of my hometown friends, but it’s nice to know that it’s for such a great local cause like Storybrook Farms.”
Since establishing the rodeo in 2006, FarmHouse has donated over $80,000 to Storybrook Farms.
“Each year we serve over 800 children for no charge, so the funds they raise help keep us going year after year,” said Little. “We really appreciate everything the guys do for us each year.”
Over the past seven years, the FarmHouse Rodeo Classic has grown from a small opportunity to raise money for the farm into a vast fundraising event that draws crowds from all over the surrounding area, and even includes a country concert.
This year’s concert, which has become a highlight for many who attend the rodeo, will feature up-and-coming country singer Thomas Rhett. Rhett, a Georgia native, has toured with many country headliners including Toby Keith, and is currently climbing the charts with his first single, “Something to Do With My Hands.”
The rodeo is set to begin at 6 p.m. on Friday, with gates opening at 5 p.m. Opening act Ashley Rae will begin at 7:30 p.m. and headliner Thomas Rhett will begin at 9 p.m.
Pre-sale tickets for the rodeo are currently available for $15 on the Haley Center concourse and the Science Center concourse from 9 a.m.-3 p.m. each day this week. Tickets will be available at the door for $20.
For more information about the FarmHouse Rodeo Classic and how to get involved, please visit www.fhrodeo.com.