Franklin Rodeo gives back through local charities

The Franklin Rodeo, a service project of the Franklin Noon Rotary Club, presents a big check to High Hopes, From left to right: Valerie Clarke, Patrick Baggett, Tom Thompson, Rotarians; Gail Powell, Executive Director for High Hopes, Deb Enright, Director of Development for High Hopes, and Patty Bearden, Rotarian.


The Franklin Rodeo is cowboys and cowgirls, horses and bulls, the creak of leather and the jingle of spurs. It’s three days of family fun and tradition.

But it’s so much more than that.

The rodeo, a project of the Franklin Noon Rotary Club, is a fundraiser for area charities and non-profits, and over its 67 year history, has given more than $2 million to those charities.

Last year, three organizations that focus on children were recipients of rodeo proceeds.

The Gentry Education Center, High Hopes, and Tucker’s House, all of Williamson County, received funding for their endeavors.

Gentry’s Education Center, founded and directed by Evelyn Hickerson, works to increase children’s academic achievement and enrich their lives through tutoring and other opportunities.

Certified teachers and volunteers provide services to children from pre-kindergarten through sixth grade, four to five days a week after school. Students enrolled in the Center gain at least a year and a half increase in reading and math skills. Funds from the rodeo have helped the Gentry Center offer scholarships to more students.

High Hopes, another child-focused charity benefiting from Franklin Rodeo funding is Tucker’s House. Founded by Sunny Rosanbalm, an architectural designer and grandmother of a child with special needs, the organization helps make the homes of children with disabilities safer and more accessible.

Rosanbalm and her team, which includes a pediatric physical therapist, will assess a house and diagnose the changes that need to be made to make the house a better fit for children with special needs. If families can’t afford the modifications, Tucker’s House covers the cost.

House modifications might include wheelchair access, showers with no curbs so shower chairs and be rolled in, floors without carpeting (so wheelchairs roll easier), and even lift systems. Tucker’s House staff looks years down the road, envisioning what the child might need as his or her needs change. Modifications to the house benefit not only the child but the parent and caretaker as well.

Be part of the Franklin Rodeo and give back to the community! The Franklin Rodeo is May 18-20 at the Williamson Co. Ag Expo Park. It begins at 7 p.m. each night. Tickets are $10 for children ages 12 and under and $20 for adults; all seats are reserved. Tickets an be purchased online at or at the gate. For more information, visit the rodeo’s website, call 615-RODEO-11 or find the rodeo on Facebook.

Members of the Franklin Noon Rotary Club and representatives from Tucker’s House convene for the big check presentation. The rodeo is an annual fundraiser for the Noon Rotary Club. From left to right: Bill Foley, Mark Schweer, Alex Brown, Scott Farrar, Sunny Rosanbalm, Eric Powers, Chris Bridgewater, Tom Thompson