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Cowgirls focus on giving back to community

The Covington Cowgirls are: Tricia Courson, Donna Jones, Susan Cox, Susan Kervin, Debi Butts, Debra Donaldson, Pat Graham, Sonja Veasey, Angie Dubose, Hayley Jeffcoat, Donna Moseley, Bonita Merritt, Susan Seales and Mary Worley. Photo courtesy of B&P Photography

At first glance, the group of ladies who get together every now and then for a nice ride on horseback appears to be just that.

But, at a closer look, the Covington Cowgirls Drill Team is so much more – they’re the people who deliver your mail, sell you insurance, wait on you at the bank and others who work tirelessly to raise money to fund scholarships and provide services for the county’s special needs population.

Team Director Tricia Courson said the group is comprised of women who share a love of horseback riding and giving back to the community.

“We all agree that is very important to us, and the rodeo helps us to do those things,” Courson said of this weekend’s Alabama Junior and High School Rodeo. This is the 10th year the team has sponsored the event, which begins Saturday at 9 a.m., with the junior high portion of the rodeo, followed by the high school competition at 7:30 p.m. On Sunday, “cowboy church” will be held at 9 a.m., followed by competition at 10 a.m. Events include everything one would expect at a rodeo such as barrel racing, goat tying, steer wrestling, calf roping and bull riding.

Money raised from this event is used to fund an annual scholarship for an area senior, as well as other projects.

Other events include a special needs benefit trail ride in November and the St. Jude Trail Ride.

They also assist with Community Christmas and providing assistance to families recovering from disasters.

But not all the group’s time is spent fundraising, she said.

“We really love to ride at rodeos,” she said. “If you don’t know about us, we are the ones who bring in the flags for opening ceremonies, and we do a routine to music with our horses.”

She said the group is now preparing to ride in the Greater Gulf State Fair in Mobile Rodeo on Oct. 26.

“Not all of our members ride,” Courson said. “We have some who just love to be involved with the charitable work that we do.”

Membership is open to women age 14 and older. Practice is held on Tuesdays at 7 p.m. at the Covington Center Arena, weather permitting.

Courson said there are several mother and daughter teams that participate such as Susan Kervin and Hayley Jeffcoat.

“Hayley started with us when she was 14, and she’ll graduate this year,” she said. “We’ve had many mother-daughter teams in the past. It is a great family thing to do together. We spend so much time together that you can’t help but to feel like family.

“We love our community and really want everyone to come out and support this arena, and the kids that love what they do and work so hard to do what they do,” she said.

Admission to the weekend rodeo is $8 for adults; $5 for students; $20 for an adult weekend pass; and $12 for a student weekend pass.