The crew of the J.B. Wells Arena and the city of Gonzales are putting the final touches on preparations for the Texas Junior High Rodeo Association Finals.
Five hundred and twenty-one state finalists from across the Lone Star state will be arriving in Gonzales this weekend as they compete in the TJHRA Finals.
Amanda Garza, J.B. Wells facility manager, said J.B. Wells has set up 880 stalls for animals and 441 spots for RVs; some have overflowed into Independence Park and all local hotels have been booked for the event.
“Right now, we are prepping the grounds, cleaning, getting the stock that comes in for the contestants; the stuff that they compete on, we're getting those pens built. Due to the weather, we've come into some glitches. We've had some issues, but we're getting through it. We will have over 3,000 people at the park,” Garza said.
Garza is excited to greet the children and watch them compete in the finals with their families, seeing them coming from different parts of the state as well as from Louisiana and Oklahoma.
“Having that many kids from all over trying to compete for nationals, it's a big deal in the rodeo world. And I feel that when you come into these bleachers and you sit and you see them cheering on their competitors or the kids in their region, it's a feeling that is bigger than some of the college football games. It's a big deal and it's neat and I wish everybody would come out and see what it's all about,” Garza said.
With the help from her crew of five and the city, Garza has a lot of assistance to make sure the finals goes smoothly as planned for next year.
“It takes the whole city to help get it ready and prepped and we have everything, from EMS, the fire department, the police department, and the water department checking every RV spot, the street department comes out helps with the roads … The county has helped me tremendously to get this done. So it takes a village,” Garza said.
Gonzales has hosted the TJHRA finals since 2003 and are looking to bid for another five years to host the event.
“It's a big impact on our town, our community. The city of Gonzalez needs it. And I only look for bigger and better things to happen here,” Garza said.
The state finalists will begin arriving Saturday, May 20.
The event will streamed on the official TJHRA website and the Expo will have a TV inside for those who want to watch the stream inside and will have many vendors set up at the event.