Safety officials prepared for this year's Alpha Psi Rodeo - WTVM.com-Columbus, GA News Weather & Sports

Safety officials prepared for this year's Alpha Psi Rodeo

AUBURN, AL (WTVM) - Country music star Brad Paisley is headlining this year's Alpha Psi Rodeo set for April 11 in Lee County.  

The event raises thousands of dollars for local charities, but it's also garnered a reputation for dangerous drinking and other unsafe behavior.   

Auburn University leaders have made it clear this is not an event they want their name attached to.

Dr. Bobby Woodward with the Auburn University Division of Student Affairs said the university informed Alpha Psi Fraternity they must improve safety this year, but the fraternity did not work with them.

"Auburn University places our students' safety as the highest priority and only participates in events that do the same," Dr. Woodward said. "Unfortunately, the rodeo lacks the safety standards that we require, despite our repeated attempts to work with organizers to make the day safe for all involved." 

Starting early, hundreds of trucks filled with young adults piled in the back drive to the all-day rodeo event. 

AU students Andria Moore and Betty Anne Graham, however, will not go again. 

"Because most people go and end up drinking too much and that ends up being the main problem," Graham said. 

"Just a lot of people passed out, with people under the trailers and behind busses, laying there unconscious and nobody knows about it because their friends are too drunk to do anything about it," Moore added. 

Alpha Psi did not respond to repeated emails for a comment. Its website states no guests will be allowed to enter or exit the event in the back of trucks this year. 

"We know it's a popular thing to do to pile up in the back of truck and ride around," said Lee County Sheriff Jay Jones. "It's not a very safe thing to do and it can lead to serious injuries, just as it did last year when a girl suffered a significant head trauma when she was thrown during a minor accident when she was in the back of that truck."

The driver of the truck was charged with a DUI.

Sheriff Jones says impaired driving is the main concern. With an expected crowd of 15,000, alcohol will not be sold at the event but guests who are 21 or older can bring in their own. 

"We are certainly going to be watching the roadways," Sheriff Jones said. "It's a 20 mile round trip from the location back to the city limits of Auburn so we will be on the roads."

AU student Amber Rary says she's lined up a sober driver.

"It really isn't just the big drink-fest that everyone makes it out to be," Rary said. "It is about music and having fun."

Sheriff Jones says multiple agencies will saturate roadways looking for DUI's. At least 100 agents will work the event, and a holding area will be set up for arrests. 

"We feel like we have a good plan in place and we have been preparing for months," Sheriff Jones said. 

This year, free shuttle busses will not be available. However, Tiger Taxi is offering roundtrip rides for $25. They will pick up and drop off at three locations, so attendees will still need to drive home.

Sheriff Jones says be safe… or you will be arrested.

More details about this year's Alpha Psi Rodeo can be found on their website at this link.

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