Locals compete at national rodeo finals

Published 12:00 am Friday, July 17, 2015

With two days remaining in the 2015 National High School Rodeo Association finals at the Sweetwater Events Complex in Rock Springs, Wyo., several local cowboys and cowgirls are making steps to earn a championship.

Gus Maraman has participated in the tie-down roping event this week, and on the second go Maraman go the third highest time of the day at 13.22. With two days remaining, Maraman sits at 50th overall with a time average of 13.22.

Maraman also recently was a part of the 2015 International Youth Rodeo Finals where he competed in steer wrestling and calf roping. Maraman’s fastest time at the IYRF was an 11.4 time on his first calf rope. The time was good enough for 12th place on the day. Maraman finished in 69th place overall at the IYRF.

Casey Cox from Red Level is also competing in the 2015 NHRA finals, and is participating in the Reined-Cow horse event. Cox got a score of 236.5 on the first go and is currently in 95th place overall.

In the team-roping event, Dustin Hyson is teamed up Lauryn Hoagland of Harpersville for the NHRA finals. Hyson and Hoagland put together a solid second run with a time of 11.48. It was the sixth best score of the day, and enough to put the in 41st place overall.

Jordan Whitman and Hope Hull’s Ryan Bibb have also teamed up for shot to become the top ropers in the nation. Whitman and Bibb placed seventh on the second go with a time of 16.07. They are currently sitting in 60th place overall and won’t move on to Saturday’s short go.

“We didn’t do too good on the first round,” Whitman said. “But we did better in the second round. We got a calf that ran hard in the second round, but we got it roped. Our time was around 11 seconds, but we got a penalty that made it 16 seconds.”

Whitman said the weather has been a factor during the national finals.

“It has rained on-and-off the whole time out here,” Whitman said. “It will rain for a bit and then it just gets really hot. The weather is different than back home. The wind is always blowing out here.”

Rain before the pair’s second go almost hurt them out of the gate.

“On the second go, it rained just before we went out, and my horse kind of slipped out of the gate,” Whitman said. “I can’t use that as an excuse or anything. We still ended up catching the calf.”

Whitman said it’s a lot different trying to rope in the rain.

“You have to be a lot more cautious,” Whitman said. “You can’t really push it. That isn’t an excuse, though.”

Whitman said it’s tough knowing that in his final NHRA finals appearance he came up just short of making the short go on Saturday.

“Knowing I won’t be around for the short go on Saturday kind of hurts a bit,” Whitman said. “But you know, that is just part of it.”

Whitman said he has really enjoyed his final NHRA finals, even though he didn’t finish like he would have liked to.

“It has been a lot of fun to hang out with all my friends,” Whitman said. “I’ve been coming here three years, and you get to know the other people who are also here every year. You form some really close friendships. It’s a lot of fun helping each other out and competing against one another. It’s really more than just friendship, rodeo is kind of like one big family.”

This was Whitman’s third and final trip to the NHRA finals, after going his sophomore, junior and now senior seasons.

There is one more go Thursday night, but it wasn’t finished at the time the Star-News went to press.

There will be two more goes today, and one on Saturday morning before the final short go on Saturday evening.