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Jamie Gentner

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Cowboy Stampede festivities lead to 30 professions of faith

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Cowboy missionary Jeff Smith of Midland, N.C., preaches to a crowd of more than 1,000 people at a June 10 rodeo in Archdale, N.C. Smith is a member of the Cowboy Church Network of North America. Photo by Jonathan Blair
ARCHDALE, N.C. (BP)-–A man wearing a red cowboy shirt, dark jeans, brown boots and a beige cowboy hat stepped into the middle of the freshly-graded dirt at Triad Livestock Arena in Archdale in North Carolina’s Piedmont Triad of Greensboro, Winston-Salem and High Point.
      “Hey folks. Are y’all ready to rumble?” Jeff Smith asked the crowd of about 1,000, who responded with a loud yell.
      As “Let’s Get Ready to Rumble” played over the arena’s speakers, a group of cowboys and cowgirls rode into the ring on horseback to pump up the crowd for the Cowboy Stampede.
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“Red Hot” takes Triad-area bull rider Terry Owens for a wild ride during a June 10 rodeo in Archdale, N.C., sponsored by Triad Cowboy Church. Owens was the only one of 10 riders who stayed on his bull for the required eight seconds. Photo by Jonathan Blair.
The June 10 event was one of dozens during Crossover Triad preceding the annual meeting of the Southern Baptist Convention June 13-14 in Greensboro.
      The stampede showcased the talent of cowboys and cowgirls from across North Carolina. And, later, the same cowboy who had stepped into the arena to begin the show grabbed his Bible and gave a message.
      “This sort of thing draws people in,” said Jay Willard, one of the event’s organizers. “They see an event like this put on by Christians and it’s a good influence. It’s good for them to see that Christians can have a good time too.”
      Smith, of the Cowboy Church Network of North America in Midland, N.C., has assisted in the incorporation of cowboy churches across the country.