John Ligon and daughter Catherine at the 2019 Franklin Rodeo. The father/daughter team help park cars at the rodeo each night, and Catherine has attended Franklin Noon Rotary meetings with her dad. Photo by Tom Thomson.
Franklin woman delights as volunteer in parking lot for Franklin Rodeo
Franklin, Tenn. (April 25, 2022) – Catherine Ligon will be in a hurry to get her final college exam done on May 17.
While her dad is busy packing up his daughter’s things.
That’s because the two of them have to hurry home to Franklin from the University of Tennessee at Knoxville for the Franklin Rodeo, where she does one of her favorite things: volunteering in the parking lot for the rodeo.
The Franklin girl, who is nineteen years old, directs the vehicles as they park, optimizing the space and parking them as safely and as orderly as possible.
It’s a job she started doing with her dad, John Ligon, about ten years ago. At the time, she was too young to park cars, so she hung out with her dad. A few years later, she began her present job.
She’s usually there all three nights of rodeo, this year May 19-21, along with her dad John, a Rotarian. “She works hard at it,” he said, “and I don’t like doing it unless she’s there.”
Catherine is good at her job, her dad says. She loves to talk to people. “I’m a people person, let me tell you,” she said. She likes the older people as well as the little ones, dressed up in their boots, hats, and big belt buckles. “I get along with everyone I work with at the rodeo,” she said. “We’re all big old besties.”
When her shift in the parking lot is done, she and her dad move inside the Williamson Co. Ag Expo Park, where they help with the mutton busting and calf scramble. And on Saturday night, when the rodeo is over and it’s time to tear down, she stays with the Rotarians till two or three a.m., helping take down banners and put things away.
Catherine has attended a couple of Franklin Noon Rotary Club meetings, starting in third grade, with her dad. She enjoys the speakers and the “this day in history” facts that are presented. She’d be a Rotarian, if they’d let her. But she has to have a career and be invited before she can be a member.
Last year, she was received the Junior Rotarian of the Year award for her volunteer work with the club; her grandpa Ron Ligon is a member, as is her uncle, Matt Ligon. Ron has been a Noon Rotary Club member and a volunteer at the Franklin Rodeo since 1970.
She loves the time spent with her dad, at the rodeo and the “Vitamin D,” she gets by being outside while parking cars. “It’s hard to say why parking is fun,” she said. “It doesn’t sound like fun, but I like to be in charge, directing cars,” she laughed.
Her dad loves spending time with her. “She’s a good running buddy,” he said. “She’s really funny and witty.”
Catherine’s mom is Paula Ligon; Paula and Jon have an older daughter, Catherine’s sister, Margaret.
The Franklin Rodeo will be held May 19-21 at the Williamson Co. Ag Expo Park. Performances start at 7 pm each night. Tickets are $25 for adults and $12 for kids ages twelve and under, and are available online at www.FranklinRodeo.com. For more information, visit the website.
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