JEFFERSON – When the Jefferson Livestock Association voted to not host a rodeo this year, Susan Anderson, district clerk of Marion County, and her husband, Alan Biddy, jumped at the opportunity.
“When JLA voted down doing the rodeo, I approached them to rent the arena and use it as a fundraiser, which was approved,” Susan Anderson said. Over the past 15 years, Anderson has awarded $21,000 in scholarships in memory of her older daughter, Becca Anderson, who died from injuries received in a vehicle wreck while on a 2003 college ski trip.
“The net proceeds from the rodeo will benefit the scholarship program dedicated to the memory of Becca,” Susan Anderson said. “The program, not only allows Becca’s family and friends to keep her memory alive, but also provides an opportunity to give back to the young men and women who wish to further their education.”
Susan explained what prompted her to take on the task of sponsoring a rodeo. “Scholarship funds were low and I needed to decide on a fundraiser and this opportunity presented itself with JLA’s vote against hosting it,” Susan detailed.
“After the meeting, I threw out the idea to my husband, Mandy Moore, Samantha Anderson, Shawn McCalister and Joni and Gered Lee and they were all for it.”This core group helped pull the rodeo together both as an opportunity to raise scholarship funds and continue to bring the sport of rodeo to Marion County.“
Almost everyone are JLA members and have helped the last three years with the prior rodeos and other horse events.” Susan said. “Alan and I were the ones who dealt with and have formed a working relationship with the stock contractor, so no one was hesitant to jump in.”
Since Becca’s death in early 2004, scholarships have been awarded each year to a JHS graduating senior and for the first five years, also to a member of her 2003 class. The scholarships, normally in the amount of $1,000, have been funded through memorials, private donations, softball clinics and barrel races.
Becca, a 2003 Jefferson High graduate, was very active in the community, a member of the JHS band and a majorette for six years. “She loved the outdoors, riding and competing horses and was a four-year member of the Jefferson Lady Dawg softball team,” Susan related.
JHS seniors have been awarded $16,000; classmates of Becca’s $5,000. A few years, such as this year, the scholarship was split between two recipients, but the total has been $1,000 each year. A couple have not requested the funds and one student passed away prior to enrolling.
The event will be held at the Jefferson Livestock Association arena, located two miles east of Jefferson on Highway 49, May 31 and June 1.Mutton bustin’ begins at 7:30 p.m. each night with the rodeo performance scheduled to kick off at 8 p.m.
A kid’s calf scramble will be held for those 10 and under. A scholarship calf scramble for high-school-aged students will have up to four winners per night. Each will be awarded a $200 scholarship to be applied towards dual credit courses or be payable when the student enters college or trade school.
Bergeron Rodeo Company of Lake Charles, Louisiana will again be the stock contractor. The rodeo is sanctioned through the United Professional Rodeo Association, Louisiana Rodeo Cowboy Association and the Arkansas Rodeo Association.
Slack competition for contestants not entered in the nightly performance, will be Saturday morning at 10.
Anderson recounted “Becca never met a stranger and always had a smile on her face. She is missed by many.”
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