Stokes Family pledges $300K to new rodeo arena

The Stokes family, Brock, Trent and Merili Stokes, Stokes Market manager Mike Read, Lou Ann and Larry Stokes, Stephanie Smith, Brittanie Nelson and Derek Stokes, say they have enjoyed going to the rodeo throughout their lives.

That Famous Preston Night Rodeo Committee is $300,000 closer to its goal to enlarge the capacity of and improve the Franklin County Fairgrounds arena.

Grocer Larry Stokes and his children have pledged $300,000 to the effort.

“Larry has always been a supporter of Preston and he’s sponsored the rodeo for a long time. He helps to sponsor the big screen and we’ve sold tickets in their store for years. We are just really grateful for their support,” said rodeo committee chairman Kris Beckstead.

“Their generosity is much, much appreciated,” she said.

The Stokes, who all came home for the announcement, said the pledge is a good way for them to give back to a community that has supported them. Larry, his father, Eldon, and brother, John, first opened the Stokes grocery store in Preston in 1991.

Since then, the store has grown to a multi-department marketplace that employs 150 area residents.

“We very much appreciate our management team & employees. They bring genuine care and concern to our customers each and every day. Without them, it could not be done in such a manner,” the family said in a written statement.

“Because of the support we get from the community we have been able to give back,” said Stokes. The store is known for its generosity in sponsoring community activities.

“We will always work hard to give back to the schools, organizations and communities that we are a part of,” said Brock Stokes, who works at the store.

And the Stokes Family is one of those local families that include the rodeo as one of their family traditions.

“We also want to thank the rodeo committee and all those that help make this rodeo a memorable time of year for our wonderful community,” they said.

“We’ve always gone to the rodeo — it’s the big thing in Preston — one that brings family and friends home,” said daughter Merili Stokes. She and her siblings Derek, Trent, David, Brock, Stephanie Smith and Brittanie Austin all joined in on the pledge.

“Its not all about taking, its about giving,” they said.

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