By MARINA WATERS
Cattle shows, the Appalachian Fairground and putting a smile on other’s faces were just a few of the things Justin Rose enjoyed throughout his life. And now, his family and friends are bringing all that together for a fundraiser event on Saturday, Sept. 2, in Justin’s honor.
Round Up For The Roses was created as an inaugural event to raise money for Justin’s family and to bring the community together to remember the Daniel Boone High School student.
“It started from a friend of the family saying, ‘What can we do to help them financially?’ It really started out with us thinking we could maybe do a cattle show because that was Justin’s passion,” event committee member Jennie Good said. “We’ve kept it kind of themed to him — his passion was farming and showing cattle.”
Justin was involved in FFA and grew up showing cattle throughout the area and the Appalachian Fairground. For the Rose family and friends, the place and the event’s activities, which include a cattle show, farm olympics, live music and even a greased pig competition speak to Justin’s personality and love for the county life.
“Several years ago, he was in the Herald & Tribune on the front cover. He was about three feet tall with his cowboy hat on hugging his heifer,” Justin’s father, Duane Rose said. “He grew up showing here. This is home.”
The “Hold My Heifer” cattle show is another part of the labor day weekend event that will help raise money and will also remind others of Justin’s personality — and his knack for volunteering any bystanders at a cattle show.
“If he was going in the ring to show one, his dad was waiting at the door for him to bring one cow out and bring another in. If his dad wasn’t standing there and he knew he had another one to take in, he’d just grab people randomly and say, ‘here, hold my heifer,’” committee member Betsy Hartman said, smiling at the memory. “If he knew you or not, he’d ask you to hold his heifer. He was a sweetheart.”
Justin didn’t just put a smile on others’ faces; Justin’s friends and family all spoke about the affect he had on the community. And for Good, who is also Justin’s cousin, the event was planned a few months after his passing in order to serve as another reminder that he’s not forgotten.
“I think we saw, when Justin passed, how he had touched so many people, his family and his friends. His smile was infectious,” Good said.
“This was just something that everyone wanted to do. And we wanted to schedule it later so that his family could know that ‘Hey, it’s not forgotten. He’s not forgotten.’ That is another comfort for the family. This is really a time that we felt the family needed.”
The event will include various crafts and vendors along with t-shirts, decals and other items all donning Justin’s brand.
There will also be activities for kids, barbecue and the Unicoi County FFA bluegrass band.
When it came to honoring Justin, his friends also wanted to get involved by creating a diesel truck coal-rolling event and, of course, the cattle show that will include many of his friends such as Hannah Hartman, who has known Justin since the two started kindergarten.
“Being his friend for so long, I just wanted to help out,” Hannah said, “to give the help that I could to carry on his legacy.”
Though the proceeds from the event will help his family with medical bills, the group is hoping to make the event an annual event that would provide a scholarship for a local student.
“I was touched. I was happy (hearing others wanted to create the event),” Duane Rose said. “He touched a lot of people. It makes me realize just how many people he did touch.”
Those folks were not few and far between; the committee said sponsors were very willing to help and that some even called the group ready to volunteer their assistance.
But for his family and friends alike, Justin’s light is what they hope to instill in others during the event.
“Justin was just 16, but we consider him a legacy,” Betsy Hartman said. The things he accomplished, from the awards to the cattle shows, I hope it just shows other kids that they can make an example to others.
“And hopefully Justin’s legacy will continue on.”
The Round Up For The Roses will be held at the Appalachian Fairgrounds in Gray on Saturday, Sept. 2. Gates open at 9 a.m. all registration forms are available at https://roundupfortheroses.wixsite.com/mysite. For more information, email [email protected] or visit www.facebook.com/roundupfortheroses/.