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franklin county times

Teen-age riders set for rodeo roundup

By Staff
RODEO ACTION The Mississippi Alabama High School Challenge Rodeo will kick off this weekend at the Lauderdale County Agri-Center. File photo
By Ben Alexander/The Meridian Star
More than 250 teen-agers are hoping to corral more than just cattle this weekend as the annual Mississippi Alabama High School Challenge Rodeo kicks off.
Competing in events such as bull-riding, steer-wrestling and bare-back, riding the teens will be hoping to rustle up enough points to qualify for the national high school rodeo championships held in Springfield, Ill., where they can win college scholarship money.
Last year at the national rodeo championships over $150,000 in scholarship money was awarded.
However, Newell said more than just scholarship money will be at stake Saturday and Sunday when the rodeo is held at the Lauderdale County Agri-Center. Pride will also be on the line.
According to Newell, teens from Lauderdale, Newton, Philadelphia and Enterprise will all be vying for those valuable points in hope of reaching the national championships.
The competition begins at 7:30 p.m. Saturday and 1:30 p.m. Sunday afternoon. Tickets for the event will be on sale at the center, $5 for adults and $3 for children under 12.
Although some might think of a rodeo as an "alternative" sporting event, Newell is quick to point out the training is as rigorous if not more so than that required in other sports.
The event was held for the first time last year at the recently built Agri-Center, where the facility was so impressive Newell says the Alabama representatives preferred for Lauderdale County to host the event again this year.
And for those who may think a rodeo isn't an entertaining spectator sport, Newell has some words of wisdom.
Spectators for the annual event are not only getting the opportunity to watch a unique spectacle, but according to Newell, they are also helping the teens make it to the national championships.
Proceeds from the sale of tickets are earmarked to help offset the cost of travel and lodging for riders and parents who make the trip to Springfield.
Ben Alexander is a staff writer for The Meridian Star. E-mail him at balexander@meridianstar.com.