Churches have fundraisers for a number of reasons, and Assembly of Praise in Lula is no different, but one of its fundraiser is very different.
It’s a lot bigger, more dangerous and includes animals.
The church will host its fifth-annual rodeo at 6 p.m. at Chicopee Woods Agricultural Center on Sept. 21-22. Tickets are $10 in advance and $15 for adults at the gate. Children aged 6-12 are $10 and children 5 and under are free.
It’s a full, eight-event rodeo featuring bull and bronc riding.
“We do a lot of different work with missions and that’s what all of the profit goes to,” said Mike Queen, a member of the church. “Helping people and helping children is what we do.”
He’s passionate about this event because it draws such a large crowd, which means the ministry he is especially close to, “Night of Awareness,” benefits from it. He said the venue can hold about 3,500 people at a time. Last year, during the two-night event, it brought in about 5,000 guests.
The more people that attend the event, the more the church is able to help the community, state and even people overseas. Queen helps with the Night of Awareness event at Assembly of Praise, which raises funds to fight human trafficking and help at-risk children, each year. Part of the money raised from the rodeo goes to Night of Awareness.
“Anything I can get involved in that would keep a child from becoming a victim of human trafficking, I do that,” Queen said.
He said he’s always been the kind of person who helps out where he’s needed, and if being a part of putting on a rodeo is a way to do that, he doesn’t hesitate.
“These children don’t have the ability to help themselves,” Queen said. “And they, to me, are our most precious resource in the country coming up. So we’ve got to take care of these children.”
On top of the actual rodeo, there will be plenty of other things to do. Queen said there will be barbecue for sale along with food from Texas Roadhouse, funnel cakes, boiled peanuts and shaved ice. Bounce houses will be available for the children to jump in, too.
Queen said starting the event five years ago wasn’t easy. It took a few years before they saw a profit because not as many people were aware of it, but now, the church makes a profit and is able to use that money for the different charities it supports.
“We tried to pick something a lot of people haven’t done,” Queen said. “A lot of churches have done this and that and we wanted to do something different. And we also wanted to create an event that was fun for the community where you could just come together and have a good time in a good family atmosphere.”
Assembly of Praise benefit Rodeo
Where: Chicopee Woods Agricultural Center, 1855 Calvary Church Road, Gainesville
When: 6 p.m. Sept. 21-22
Price: $10 in advance; $15 for adults at the gate, $10 for children 6-12, children 5 and under free