It’s That Time Again!

Time again for the 8th Annual Cotton Blossom Roundup PRCA/WPRA rodeo to ride into Nashville on March 24 and 25 at the Berrien County Saddle Club Arena located on County Farm Road with performances 7:30 nightly. Advance tickets and T-shirts are on sale now at the Chamber of Commerce and if not sold out, T-shirts will be for sale at the Rodeo.

If any of you have been reading my previous “chats,” you know that when visitors come into Berrien County, they are called tourists even if they are here for just one night of entertainment! These tourists will be spending money in Nashville for sure but depending on where they come into Berrien County, they could spend money in Alapaha, Enigma and Ray City. The crew that sets up the rodeo will be here the entire week and guess what, they are going to eat, fill-up their pickup trucks, sleep and shop. We have company coming ya’ll so let’s take a look around at our businesses and give the cowboys, cowgirls and their fans a big dose of Berrien County hospitality

Usually my “chats” are all about Economic Development and this column is no different. So let’s take a look at Economic Development rodeo style.

 If you have ever attended a rodeo, you will notice what I call the “Cowboy Spirit.” Cowboys and cowgirls bend over backwards to help each other. It is just their nature. They love to compete and compete they do for points to help them in their quest for a trip to the National Finals. But if a fellow competitor needs some help, help they do.  Some of the events require two people like team roping so basically they have to work together. When the bull riders climb on the back of that really rank bull, they know that the rodeo clowns are going to do everything they can do to protect them from the bull when thrown off! Bronc riders also know that those pickup men are going to assist them if needed. Get the picture! Everyone is working hard to make the rodeo a success for the competitors as well as the fans! Cowboys are not naysayers who look at the negative and say this just can’t be done. Instead, they jump in and figure out ways to make it work!

Hmmm! How does that have anything to do with Economic Development?

It is pretty simple really! To be successful at Economic Development, people must work together. This means all levels of local governments, the Chamber of Commerce and Development Authority must work together when a prospective business or industry is interested in locating within the county. But, it doesn’t end there. The residents in the county should be willing to do their part for example not second guessing every decision that is being made but voicing their concerns in a constructive manner to the members of the various agencies involved. If you are a resident of Berrien County, you are a member of the team and unless you want our county to be left behind in job creation, you should be the county’s number one cheerleader just like the fans coming to the rodeo on Friday and Saturday night. Believe it or not, even our school children are part of the Economic Development team because business or industry prospects look at our school systems in determining if they want to locate in a community and if the community will provide the workforce with the skills needed to support their business or industry if they decide to locate here.

In a small town, some folks want to know everybody’s business but there are simply some things involving a prospective business or industry choosing to locate which cannot be discussed. There is an old saying, “loose lips sink ships”!

We never know when a prospective businessman or businesswoman might be looking for a new place for their business. One of the cowboys, cowgirls or even a fan coming to Berrien County this weekend might look around our community, fall in love with it and decide they would like to locate a business here. This is why it is so important that we all work together and showcase our county in the most favorable way possible. You never know when someone passing through might want to live here or start a business or industry here! Be a part of Berrien County’s Economic Development growth by becoming a team player – showcase the positive. Let’s all development that cowboy spirit and learn to work together.

Let’s look at a look at Berrien’s sales tax revenues for February. LOST revenues for Alapaha – $3481.67; Enigma – $3,481.83; Ray City – $4,112.38; Nashville – $20,564.40; and Board of Commissioners – $70,368.29. SPLOST revenues for the Board of Commissioners was $102,007.41. ELOST revenues for the Board of Education were $103,601.36.