AHSRA could leave Arena

Published 12:00 am Friday, February 1, 2013



This could be the last year Andalusia hosts the Alabama High School Rodeo Association events, president and Red Level resident Jerry Varner said Thursday.

Competition in the three-day Bama Challenge Rodeo event begins tonight at 7 p.m. as 200 contestants from Alabama, Georgia and Florida hit the clay at the Covington Center Arena. Events will include bareback riding, saddle bronc riding, calf roping, steer wrestling, barrel racing and more. This is one of the many rodeos in which contestants attempt to earn points all year long to qualify for the national event, which will be held in July in Wyoming.

This is the 10th year the rodeo – and its local counterpart, the AHSRA state finals, set for June – have been held in Andalusia, but that could soon change, Varner said.

“I’ve been approached by several cities wanting to host these two events,” he said. “That’s why it’s so important that the community comes out to support the rodeo.”

Each of the 200 contestants – including the 10 to 12 local youth – are required to sell $300 worth of advertising and/or sponsorships to help with rodeo expenses. Local governments and organizations, as well as residents, also contribute, Varner said.

“Each of those 200 kids brings a mom, a dad and probably two brothers,” he said. “They generally spend, on average, $600 for the weekend – and that’s money coming to the county, so we want (the rodeos) to stay here.

“But, we need support,” he said. “We need people to come out and watch the rodeo to keep the AHSRA coming back. I’m hoping to get a new contract for another three years, so we’ll see. I can say, though, thank you Andalusia for being a great host.”

Competition will begin Saturday at 2 p.m. and again at 7 p.m. and on Sunday at 2 p.m.

A blood drive will also be held in conjunction with the rodeo on Saturday beginning at 8 a.m.

For more information about being a rodeo sponsor or donating blood, contact Varner at 334-504-4909.