Alpha Psi Rodeo brings thousands of students to Macon Co.
COLUMBUS, GA (WTVM) - Thousands of students packed into a field in Macon County Saturday for the annual Alpha Psi Rodeo.
This year's event welcomed over three times the number of attendees last year and according to officials with the Macon County Sheriff's office, no arrests have been made.
The event's past has been plagued with arrests. In 2016, nearly 50 people were arrested at the event.
In 2017, the event "shifted its focus" according to this year's event producer, Nathan Baugh. One of the main differences was that tailgating in the parking areas was not allowed. Organizers say that they have brought back tailgating, but are working with law enforcement to ensure things do not get out of hand.
"I think this is no different than tailgating at the football stadium or at Talladega," said Baugh. "Anytime you do an event of this size there are the 5% that will be idiots regardless of where the event is so we try to eliminate the ability to act stupid."
One thing crews are doing this year is searching every cooler and car that enters the park. The practice has caused major backups along the side of Highway 80 but Baugh says he was prepared for this.
"The beautiful thing about this site and working with ALEA, Alabama Law Enforcement Agency out on highway 80 is that people can be off the road without impeding highway access," he said.
One concern during planning was combating underage drinking. During Friday's safety walk-through Baugh discussed the issue with Sheriff Brunson and the Alcohol and Beverage control board.
Baugh said his team was doing everything in their power to prevent underage drinking and said he would support whatever the sheriff deemed necessary to enforce laws on the property.
"We have made incredible strides in partnering with the Macon County Sheriff's office and ALEA," said Baugh. "Partnering and beginning the conversation with local law enforcement, we believe, is incredibly important… Everyone has the same goal, getting the students here safely and getting them home safely."
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