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Ride ‘Em Cowboy!

Katie Beck participates in a barrel race in a rodeo event in Troy earlier this season. | Courtesy photo

Covington County will be filled to the rodeo barrel this week as teenagers will compete for the top prize at the 2010 Alabama High School Rodeo Association state finals at Covington Center Arena.

Three local teenagers are among many from the tri-state area that will be competing over the next three days to win a trip to the National Finals in New Mexico.

16-year-old Red Level school student Caleb Varner, son of Jerry and Susan Varner of Red Level, will be teaming up with 14-year-old Opp High School student Clay Elmore, son of Greg and Jill Elmore of Opp in the team roping category.

17-year-old Straughn High School student Katie Beck, daughter of Jeffrey and Beverly Beck of Andalusia will compete in the barrel racing category.

Varner and Elmore have been roping as a team together for several years and are currently sitting at third place in their respective category.

“We’re out of first place by 20 points, but anything can happen (at the finals),” Varner said.

Varner and Elmore will kick off their run in the hope for a state title today at the AHSRA Rodeo performance at 7:30 p.m. There will be a rodeo performance each night at the same time.

Beck will start her run at 9 a.m. today in the GO-1 Slack event.

All three have been roping since they were very young, since kindergarten for Elmore.

“My granddaddy used to rodeo, and he used to rope,” Elmore said. “I just kind of picked it up from them.”

For Beck, she started roping through her family friends.

“We just had friends that were in the rodeo,” she said. “I just picked it up through friends of the family.”

In order to be successful this week, all three said they must work hard and practice.

“It’s kind of like at the state softball tournament,” Beck said. “You never know. You can be the best and come out on the tail end of the deal.”

Each night at 6, there will be “Cowboy Church” in the arena, where guest pastors will speak.

On Friday and Saturday nights, there will be a 12-and-under boys and girls bike giveaway. Kids in that age group will receive a ticket for a chance to win the bike.

The bikes were donated by David’s Catfish House and Wal-Mart.

In addition, there will be a VISA Card drawing on both nights. The tickets are $1 each, and the proceeds will go to the AHSRA rodeo scholarship fund.

Admission is $3 for children ages 12 and under, and $5 for spectators 12 and up.

Concessions will be available.