Published 8:05 am Monday, May 2, 2005
By By Tim Cottrell
The second Alabama Junior Rodeo Association (AJRA) event held in the Atmore area in the past two months was another big success Saturday, as the Poarch Jr. High Rodeo drew big crowds and tons of rodeo action.
The Poarch 4-H sponsored the event.
Much like the previous AJRA event held in Little Rock in early March, nine Atmore area youths participated in the festivities. Jon Dean, Cameron McGhee, Michael Mitchell, Michael Campbell, and James Dean competed on the cowboy's side of the events; and Torie Moore, Raylin Spence, Cheyanne Buckhault, and Lauren Wilson were on the cowgirl's side.
Buckhault's mother, Monica, who is the state secretary for the Wrangler Division of the AJRA, was happy to see the rodeo remain a success in the area.
"I thought it went pretty well," Monica said. "There was a good turnout, even with it being a little windy. The kids from Atmore did really well."
Jon Dean won the chute-dogging competition; McGhee finished first in bull riding; and Raylin Spence and Michael Campbell both turned in third place finishes in barrel racing and bull riding, respectively.
Monica was pleased to see all the children of Atmore do well.
"Everyone finished in the Top 10," she said. "Cheyanne did real well. She didn't catch a calf or a steer, but she carried the Poarch flag in."
Cheyanne said she thought her performance at the rodeo had been good.
"I guess I did pretty good," she said. "I was in team roping, girls breakaway roping, and goat tying. My favorite is between the goat tying and the breakaway. I've been doing this since second grade, so that's about five years now."
Dean was thrilled about his win in the chute-dogging competition.
"I was real happy to win in chute dogging," Dean said. "It's probably my favorite event. I was in the bull-riding also, but didn't make six seconds."
McGhee's win in the bull-riding competition moved him into third place in the AJRA standings for the year.
"I got $98 for winning it, but I had to pay it right back for the state fees," McGhee said. "I'm in third place right now. I've been in five rodeos and rode (six seconds without being thrown off) in three of them."
Lauren Wilson had a couple of Top-10 finishes to hang her hat on, as well.
"Me and Torie Moore tied for fifth in barrels," Wilson said. "I didn't do anything in poles, missed the calf in roping, and I finished eighth in goat tying. This is my last year in juniors, so next year I'll be moving up to the high school rodeo. I've been doing this for five years."
Raylin Spence, 11, was proud of her strong showing in barrel racing.
"I finished third in barrels," Spence said. "I also was in pole bending and goat tying. My favorite is the poles. I don't know why though, I just like them."
Michael Campbell, 13, who is also in his final year of competition in junior rodeo, was pleased with his third-place finish in bull riding, his only event.
"I was pretty happy to finish third in bull riding," Campbell said. "It's the only event I do. I guess because it's my main priority. I'm going to be in the state finals in June. I'll be working hard on the barrel practicing. I feel pretty good. I've improved a lot over the last few months."
Speaking of the state rodeo, it will be held June 10-12 in Montgomery. There are no rodeo events between now and then. Each competitor was gearing up for practice.
"I'm working hard on chute dogging," McGhee said. "I didn't do so good in that one Saturday."
"I'm going to spend the next month or so preparing," Dean said. "I need to work more on bull riding. I won chute dogging at Little Rock and here Saturday."
Monica said she and Cheyanne, who is also preparing for a national competition July 5-8 in New Mexico, would be burning the midnight oil preparing for the state rodeo.
"We'll be praying," Monica joked. "No we'll be working hard. She'll be practicing roping and goat tying."
At the close of her interview, Cheyanne wanted to be sure to thank a special person.
"I want to thank Mr. Claude Kent," she said.