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Youths scramble to catch a greased pig at the Lawrence County 4-H Youth Horse Club Rodeo in Moulton.
Daily photo by Brennen Smith
Youths scramble to catch a greased pig at the Lawrence County 4-H Youth Horse Club Rodeo in Moulton.

Getting dirty
part of fun

Valley youths compete at Lawrence 4-H Youth Horse Club Rodeo

By Nancy Glasscock
nglasscock@decaturdaily.com · 340-2443

MOULTON — When 3-year-old Jake Brown started learning how to rope a stationary dummy steer a few days ago, he probably never dreamed he’d win a roping contest Saturday, said his grandmother.

Jake of Loretto, Tenn., won in his age division at the Lawrence County 4-H Youth Horse Club Rodeo.

Grandmother Barbara Martin said Jake received a rope as a gift days ago, and began twirling it in the air.

“It was just for fun,” she said. “We never thought he’d win.”

About 90 participants

Jake was among about 90 participants in the rodeo, held at the Iron Rail Arena just outside Moulton.

Contestants 5 and younger raced stick horses, roped dummy steers and looked for prizes in a haystack, while teenage participants competed in calf and steer riding, barrel racing, pole bending and goat tying.

“It’s wonderful, and the children are having a ball,” Martin said.

Laura Walker, an event organizer, said cooler temperatures and clear skies probably helped boost attendance, but rain Friday muddied the arena and delayed some events.

By Saturday afternoon, the arena had time to dry some, allowing for a more stable riding surface for contests like pole bending and barrel racing, she said.

During pole bending, contestants leave the score line from a standing or running start, then proceed to the right or left of poles arranged in a pattern.

During barrel racing, participants compete for the fastest time by riding around barrels set in a cloverleaf pattern. If all barrels are standing when a contestant crosses the score line, the run is considered clean.

Competing in an event like barrel racing in a muddy arena can jeopardize the safety of a horse and rider, Walker said.

“A lot of these barrel horses are high-dollar horses,” she said. “Some will pay $10,000 for a good barrel horse, especially if they do a lot of competing.”

Broken hand

Laura Walker’s son, Michael Walker, a seventh-grader at Hatton, was competing with a broken left hand.

“It’s been a little setback, but it’s the one he uses to rein his horse,” she said.

Michael could still rope with his right hand and compete in events like goat tying. During this event, a contestant mounted on a horse rides from a starting line to the goat, dismounts his or her horse, and must tie three of the goat’s legs together with string.

After the legs have been tied, the contestant will stand with hands raised. This will start the judge’s timer. The plan is for the goat’s legs not to become untied for five seconds.

Pamela Tippett, an 11th-grader at Mount Hope High School, said her specialty rodeo events are roping and barrel racing.

She has competed in rodeo events most of her life, and trains at home for barrel racing with her quarter horse, Chick. She trains for roping with her other quarter horse, Warrior.

Tippett said training is important, but a horse “really has to have the heart to do it.”

Spectators at the rodeo contributed to a good cause, Walker said.

She said money raised from admission and concessions goes to the horse club and is used for an equine-related educational trip.

The horse club also hosts a yearly rodeo for children and adults from Lawrence County with disabilities.

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