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Ridin’ & Ropin’: Young wranglers compete at AJRA state finals

The best in cowboying is on display in Andalusia as young wranglers from across the area are competing in the Alabama Junior Rodeo Association’s Finals.

The event kicked off Thursday morning with qualifying rounds in breakaway roping and calf roping. The competition continues at the Covington Arena on Friday and Saturday. The event concludes with an awards ceremony Saturday at 5 p.m. Spectators are welcome to attend at no charge.

Cody Gardner finishes tying a calf during Wednesday’s qualifying round.

There also was Queen and Princess competitions held Wednesday.

Those competing for state champion titles have traveled from across the state as well as the Florida Panhandle. To qualify, the competitors must have competed in at least 50 percent of the AJRA rodeos held through the year. This year’s rodeos were held in Milton, Florida; Baker, Florida; Luverne, Alabama; Jemison, Alabama; Wilsonville, Alabama; and Marianna, Florida.

Covington County is well represented in the state finals with five competitors: Eli Anderson, Britt Bowers, Braxton Bozeman, Helena Cotton and John Nolen Gohagen.

Scores from the first two days of qualifying events will determine the top 10 qualifiers for the finals on Saturday. State champions will be crowned in pole bending, barrel racing, steer riding, breakaway roping, calf roping, chute dogging, team roping, goat tying, and bull riding.

The championship has been held at the Covington Arena for the past several years. AJRA officers, directors, parents, and the community work together to make it a success.

Organizers wish to thank the following for their contributions to the event: the Covington County Commission, Larry Stallings, Sherriff Blake Turman, Jail Administrator Thomas Hugghins, County Maintenance Department and Director Kevin Kennedy, and the County Engineer’s Office and Engineer Lynn Ralls.