When Chris Adkins puts on his boots to get ready for the 71st Annual Crossett Riding Club PRCA Rodeo parade, he’ll be doing so as the club’s youngest president in history.
Adkins, 32, of Crossett, said he has been a member of the CRC for approximately 10 years and has served on the board for nearly half of that.
Adkins said he joined the club because he had friends and family who were members and he liked the idea of bringing rodeo to the community.
He grew up in Crossett and is a Trinity Christian Academy graduate. Adkins said the rodeo was always something he enjoyed and wanted to see continue.
“I started out doing electrical work and helping out here and there, and then I decided I wanted to join,” Chris said.
Though Adkins wasn’t raised in the CRC, he and his brother, Rob, have both become active, involved members over the last few years.
Chris said that he had no idea he would be nominated as president, but hoped to do the best job possible in the position.
“I am the youngest president, so I was a little surprised that I was nominated, but I just want to make sure I do things right,” Chris said.
Rob Adkins, Chris’s older brother, is in the CRC and is currently serving as the vice president.
“People ask us how that works for us, but really we are ten years apart and we work good together, he knows what he is supposed to do and I know what I’m supposed to do,” Chris said.
Before joining the CRC, Chris was an avid team roper and traveled to a number of rodeos with the Arkansas Rodeo Association, United States Team Roping and World Series Team Roping.
“I haven’t really had a lot of time for roping lately,” Chris said.
Preparing for the rodeo is always hard work for all of the members and Chris said this year has not been any different and maybe even more challenging with the time change.
Chris said the CRC has a pretty decent system and the club members all know what tasks and committees they need to work on.
“It keeps us busy — it does — but everyone sort of knows what they need to do and we just get it done,” Chris said.
One of the biggest challenges this year has been the constant rain. Chris said most of the members have full-time jobs and only have the weekends to get work done around the arena. This year’s heavy rain has complicated that process.
“Making sure the arena is presentable for the rodeo and fans has been really hard to do because a lot of our weekends have been nothing but rain,” Adkins said.
Chris said that Jay Taylor is his biggest mentor or the CRC member that he looks up to the most.
“He’s a hard working member of the riding club and does a lot for the club, and he wants to have the best rodeo that we can have each and every year,” Adkins said.
Chris said one of his biggest goals as president is to get the younger generation more involved. The members of the CRC range from the youngest member being 22 and the oldest in his mid-80s, and Chris said he really wants to focus on getting the younger members to be more active.
“I want my generation to get more active and be more involved, and I think it will come with time,”Chris said. “Someone’s got to keep this going, and it’s not easy,” Chris said.
The community support seems to be growing as the CRC has more sponsors than they have had in a long time, and the pre-rodeo events are starting to come back.
“The community support has been great, and that’s what we need,” Chris said.
The CRC is appreciative of all of the various businesses who have put together events to promote the rodeo, he said.
“It makes a difference; it really does,” Chris said.
One of the big things the CRC members discuss at their meetings is how to get the community more involved and how to build the rodeo back up to what it used to be.
Chris said this year someone had the idea to give out tickets to children, so they gave away one ticket to every child in kindergarten through second grade in the Crossett, Hamburg, Monticello and Trinity school districts.
“We want more people to come out and enjoy the rodeo, so we thought that would be a good start,” Adkins said.
In addition to the rising community support, Adkins said this year’s rodeo looks to be filled with more contestants than they’ve had in a while.
The final numbers weren’t available yet, but most of the events have double the contestant numbers than last year.
Chris said the club has got so much rough stock coming in they had to expand the cages.
“We are going to have a good show this year, and we hope everyone will come out and support the riding club,” Chris said.