Bucking rodeo time

Published 12:02 am Wednesday, June 11, 2014

0611 spt-Whitman, Bibb

Jordan Whitman (right) and Ryan Bibb (left) practice team roping Tuesday afternoon at Whitman’s family ranch off Antioch Road. Below: Bibb warms up during his practice session. | Andrew Garner/Star-News

AHSRA state finals begin today at arena

Since they were in eighth grade, Jordan Whitman and Ryan Bibb have been trying to partner up for rodeo competition.

The long-time friends and rising seniors will get their chance to show their good teamwork this week in the 2014 Alabama High School Rodeo Association’s state finals at the Covington Center Arena in Andalusia.

Whitman of Straughn, and Bibb of Hooper Academy in Hope Hull near Montgomery, will be competing in the team roping event together, and in the calf roping event as individuals. They’ve been partners for the past year.

“We’ve been trying to be partners since eighth grade,” Bibb said. “Our first year during the summer some stuff came up. He (Whitman) had asked me before and I got a say in it and I wasn’t going to turn it down, but he happened to get a new partner.”

Whitman told Bibb when his new partner, Caleb Varner, graduated, then he’d join him on the saddle.

Both will now compete together tomorrow morning and Friday night in their event. In total, cowboys and cowgirls will be competing in bareback riding, barrel racing, breakaway roping, bull riding, calf roping, cutting horse, goat tying, pole bending, steer wrestling, saddle bronc riding and team roping.

The gos start at 9 a.m. and 7:30 p.m. Thursday and Friday. The short go on Saturday starts at 7:30 p.m.

In order to advance to the short go on Saturday night, the team has to run good average times.

“We have to have pretty consistent runs as in like sevens (seconds) and win the average,” Whitman said. “As long as we catch every day, it doesn’t matter.”

Bibb said it takes smarts and good timing to be able to catch the steer — a young cow — well.

“Most of the time we watch the steers during the day,” Bibb said. “We watch how they run and we try to go from there. We talk to our parents about it.”

Whitman, who participated at nationals with Varner last season, recalled when he watched how the steers ran on a monitor at the main event in Wyoming.

“We would go before our run and watch them on a monitor and see how fast our cow was, or how slow he was,” he said. “If we don’t get out just right, we’ll break the barrier which will add 10 seconds to our run.”

Both said they hope to win the average and their rounds, which will then add points and help their standings. Currently, the duo are ranked No. 4. The top four in each event advance to nationals.

So far this season, Whitman and Bibb have competed in somewhere around 10 rodeos with 24 events total.

“We’ve been to a lot places,” Whitman said.

Whitman started riding when he was in seventh grade. Bibb started in the eighth grade.

Both said that their parents got them into the rodeo.

“It just kind of passed down (to me),” Whitman said.

In addition to Whitman, Straughn’s Maggie Holmes and Dustin Hyson; Andalusia’s Gus Maraman; Kinston’s Luke Taylor; Sparta’s Bailey O’Ferrell; and Pleasant Home’s Hannah Seymour are the locals who are competing in the rodeo.

Whitman is the son of Anthony and Tina Whitman of the Straughn Community. Bibb is the son of Sam and Mary Bibb of Hope Hull.