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It’s rodeo time

Andalusia rising junior Gus Maraman competes in an earlier rodeo event in the calf roping category. | Courtesy photo

Andalusia rising junior Gus Maraman competes in an earlier rodeo event in the calf roping category. | Courtesy photo

Maraman, local cowboys, cowgirls ready for state finals

Gus Maraman gives a nod of his head and then he’s right where he wants to be — with himself, his horse and the calf.

Maraman, a rising junior at Andalusia High School, will join nine other local cowboys and cowgirls in this week’s Alabama High School Rodeo Association State Finals at the Covington Center Arena, which is slated to kick off today.

The actual rodeo competition starts on Thursday, where Maraman will compete in the calf roping event.

Rodeoers all have one goal at the state finals — to make it to nationals in Rocky Springs, Wyo.

Maraman, who lives in Andalusia and ropes in Rose Hill, was practicing Tuesday afternoon to get ready for tomorrow’s first go, which starts at 9 a.m.

Maraman’s goal for the finals is simple.

“I guess my goal is to do my best,” he said.

Rodeoing is a year-long sport and currently, Maraman sits at around sixth in the state in calf roping.

“I’ve done pretty good this year,” he said, noting that he’s excited about this week’s finals.

Rodeo events include cutting, bareback, saddle bronc, breakaway, calf roping, pole bending, steer wrestling, goat tying, team roping, barrel racing and bull riding. Contestants compete for points throughout the year-long season with the top four point earners in each event qualifying to represent Alabama at the National High School Finals Rodeo.

The night go tomorrow is at 7:30. The morning and night gos will be the same for Friday as well.

Maraman said he has to do well on Thursday and Friday to advance to Saturday’s short go, which starts at 7:30 p.m.

The top 10 in each event take the arena floor on Saturday for a chance to advance to nationals.

The other nine locals competing in the rodeo include: Maggie Holmes, Jordan Whitman, Hanna Seymour, Kim Reed, Bailey Oferrell, Luke Taylor, Clay Elmore, Chase Hargrove and Caleb Varner.

Maraman has been rodeoing for the last three years. He got into it when he was a young boy after his father, Mark, picked it up from his grandfather, Dickey.

“It’s kind of a family deal,” he said.

Rodeoing is the one thing that truly makes the Andalusia student happy, he said.

“It’s a one-man sport, which involves an animal,” Maraman said. “You don’t have to revolve around a team. It’s just me, the cow and the horse. That’s all I have to worry about.”

Maraman is also the son of Debbie Maraman of Andalusia.