Daily Progress, Jacksonville, TX

Local News

May 6, 2013

BUSINESS CONFIDENTIAL: In Jacksonville, the month of May will pack a powerful punch to your business calendar

JACKSONVILLE — If the months of May and June were movie stars, they probably would be action heros such as Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, Arnold Schwarzenegger, or Bruce Willis — possibly even Sylvester Stallone.

Both months, after all, are crammed full of Jacksonville and Cherokee County goodness.

For instance, there's Byron Underwood, president of the rodeo association, who is speaking locally and enthusiastically about our this month's TOPS in Texas rodeo — which pretty much spotlights the town's own local action stars.

As this column was being written Wednesday, Underwood was slated to speak about the rodeo at a Kiwanis meeting at Lupe's Mexican restaurant.

The TOPS In Texas rodeo, now in its 51st year, takes place May 15 through May 18.

There's a bit of a saga that comes along with the rodeo this year.

Consider it Jacksonville's own little action movie — with an interesting and suspenseful plot:

• The rodeo grounds were only recently recovered from bankrupt Lon Morris College by city of Jacksonville officials — who had deeded the rodeo grounds to Lon Morris College with specific considerations in April 2009.

• After Lon Morris declared bankruptcy, doubt was cast about the future of the rodeo. Officials with auctioneer company Ameribid accidentally sold the rodeo grounds and related city property to a high bidder during a January auction, then passed the problem on to federal bankruptcy judge rather than correct the mistake themselves.

• But. The judge ultimately returned the property to the city after Jacksonville's own action stars — Mo Raissi, city manager, and Joe Angle, city attorney — specifically intervened.

However, all that drama is now in the past, officials say. All the necessary contracts have been signed, and the rodeo is full speed ahead, according to Underwood.

More detail on this month's rodeo can be found at http://www.topsintexasrodeo.com.

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