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Junior Rodeo set for Saturday

By By ROBERT BLANKENSHIP
Advance Managing Editor
Young cowboys and cowgirls from across the state and Florida are set to compete in Escambia County during the Alabama Junior Rodeo on Saturday, March 24, 10 a.m. at the Poarch Creek Indian Arena.
Cowboys and cowgirls ages 5 through 14 will be competing in a variety of competitions including goat tying, barrel racing, calf roping, team roping, pole bending, chute dogging and bull riding. This marks the first time in eight years that the AJRA has stopped to compete in Escambia County.
Those who compete in the AJRA earn points throughout a season that begins in September and ends at the state finals in June. However, earning points is not the only requirement. They also ask that competitors sell $250 in rodeo ads and they must have passing grades before they compete in the finals. The money raised from the ads pay for saddles and belt buckles.
Currently, the AJRA has over 100 members throughout Alabama and parts of Florida. The purpose of the AJRA is to: prepare younger contestants for future participation in the Alabama High School Rodeo Association; promote the highest type of conduct and sportsmanship at the various rodeos by setting up standards; promote a close relationship among people interested in this activity; increase and maintain interest of the elementary and junior high students in rodeos and other functions of the nation; to encourage any student to continue in school as a regularly enrolled student and to improve their education and to keep the western heritage alive.
Youth rodeo requires stamina, determination and long hours of practice. The young cowboys and cowgirls develop a bond with each other and they grow to love and respect their horses and other animals of the rodeo.
Atmore area students involved in the AJRA include: Cheyenne Buckhault, Rachel Fuller, Cody Kent, Trent Flowers, Bradley Flowers, Kyle Gunn, Brandon Moore, Steven Campbell, Megan Donald and Lauren Wilson. Those in Perdido include: Brandi Harville, Ashton Dyess Callie Rowell, Aaron Hyatt, Brady Ammons and Lucas Rowell. High school students will not be competing in this year's competition. Those include Tracey Coleman, Chris Jay, Amanda Flowers, Timmy Pouncey, Dempsey Rolin, Nicole Harville (Perdido) and Darrin Gardner (Perdido).