62nd edition of Tops in Texas PRCA Rodeo opens in front of large crowd

May 10—Professional rodeo returned to Jacksonville Thursday night when the 62nd edition of the Tops In Texas Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association Rodeo kicked off a three-night run at the Jacksonville Rodeo Arena.

One of the largest opening-night crowds in several years greeted the rodeo contestants, some of which were Cherokee County natives, and others who came from as far away as Australia.

In keeping with recent tradition, Thursday was free admission night at the rodeo; courtesy of J-C Cowboy Church.

Thursday was also "Tough Enough to Wear Pink" night, with all breast cancer survivors in attendance having been saluted at the beginning of the performance, which also featured a pink balloon release.

Some of the better scores of the night were had by Gary Gilbert (Paradise, Texas), who stopped the timer on 5.0 seconds in steer wrestling, Hunter Tate's 82.5 score aboard "High Yeller" in bull riding and a Shelley Morgan (Eustace, Texas) time of 17.35 in barrel racing. Morgan has qualified for the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo four times.

Tops In Texas PRCA Rodeo has two performances remaining, at 7:00 p.m. Friday and Saturday evenings. Good seats are still available for both shows.

Following the Saturday night performance, country music recording artist Billie Jo Jones will be appearing in concert at the rodeo arena.

Tickets may be purchased on-line by visiting