Since 1949, cowboys and cowgirls have stampeded to Franklin, Tennessee in early May to participate in the largest rodeo in Tennessee and one of the longest running rodeos east of the Mississippi. The Franklin Rodeo is presented by the Franklin Noon Rotary Club, which has now celebrated over seven decades of excitement since its beginnings.
Soon after its creation, the newly formed club began looking for a fundraising project. Long-time Franklin Rotarian Jim Hayes remembers hearing about it. “Someone hit on the idea of having a rodeo, but there was a small problem. We had one man, Dr. Harry Guffee, who had actually seen a rodeo and a couple of other people who had migrated up from Texas,” Hayes relates. “Dr. Guffee, along with transplanted Texans John and Preston Fowlkes and Bob Corley were principals in carrying the torch,” according to Hayes. “Another significant person was Ed Moody, who managed the rodeo from the 1950’s until 1984.”
The first rodeo was planned for Saturday, May 6, 1949 with a parade leading up to it and was a rousing success. It was led by then Tennessee Governor Gordon Browning, local Rotarians and visiting cowboys. Bands from Franklin High School and the Columbia Military Academy also participated. About 1,000 4-H kids and their parents were in town and they joined in too. Many county residents rode their horses to town for the event so they also joined the parade. That started a tradition that goes on to this day.
Check out The Franklin Rodeo Website - CLICK HERE