50 Years of the Franklin Rodeo County resident volunteers his talents
Larry Dale will carry the American flag at the head of the 2013 Franklin Rodeo Parade just as he has the previous eight years.
Nearly every year since he was born, Larry Dale has had an appointment on his social calendar for the third weekend in May.
He’s been to the Franklin Rodeo at least 50 of the 62 years he’s been on this earth.
The lifelong Williamson County resident grew up going to the rodeo and riding in the parade. He didn’t own a pair of cowboy boots, but he sure wanted some.
“I had a pair of school shoes, and a pair of Sunday shoes, and I begged my parents for a pair of boots,” Dale said. “Of course, the money wasn’t available to buy boots. I was devastated that I had to ride and be a cowboy with slippers on.”
His mom agreed to let him wear his Sunday shoes, because “they resembled boots more than my school slippers did. But I had to polish them after the parade.”
Larry attended the University of Tennessee in Martin, and after making friends with cowboys, began riding bareback horses. He earned a nickname: “‘The Seven-Second Man,’” he laughs. Bareback riders must make an eight-second ride to receive a score.
After college, he became a Jaycee in Williamson County, and eventually, the Franklin Noon Rotary Club.
“I knew the Rotary Club sponsored the rodeo, and it was near and dear to my heart, and their club was the premier club of Franklin,” he said. “It was a no-brainer for me to get in.”
He joined in 1980, and since then, he has offered input and helped with rodeo decisions. At the rodeo, he, his wife and their daughter organize the children’s mutton busting and calf scramble. He gives the credit to his wife, Patti. “She’s the brains behind the mutton busting. She’s the one who gets it all organized.”
The rodeo will always have a special place in his heart.
“Number one, it’s good, clean family entertainment. Number two, the money it brings into the community, the tourist dollars, and the cowboy dollars. We have people come from out of state who come just for rodeo.”
And the Rotary Club motto rings true for Larry.
“That’s what it’s all about, helping others,” he said. “The motto of Rotary is ‘service above self,’ and the rodeo is a means of a way we can serve others.”
He also has been honored to carry the American flag in the Franklin Rodeo parade for the past eight years.
“The club asked me to carry the American flag, leading the parade, and for me, that’s an honor. I’m humbled by that.”
Larry Dale and hundreds of other Franklin Noon Rotary Club volunteers will be at the 64th annual Franklin Rodeo May 16-18 at the Williamson County AgExpo Center. The rodeo begins at 7 p.m. each night. Tickets are $17 for adults and $10 for children ages 12 and under. Tickets can be purchased online at www.FranklinRodeo.com. For more information, call 615-763-3611.
Posted on: 5/9/2013