Southern takes calf-roping honors at E.B.A.

By Jeff Birchfield
STAR STAFF

   Jordan Southern busted out of the chutes with his horse Nate to post a 14.45 second time and take top honors in the calf roping competition on Saturdays' opening night of the Virginia High School Association and Junior Association rodeo at the Evening Breeze Arena.
   "I just try to make a good, solid run everytime," remarked Southern. "It looks like I did all right on that. I've been worked with this horse since last year. I got him a little over a year ago."
   The Hancock County cowboy's time in roping and tying the calf bested second place Travis Blevins, the home arena cowboy and student at Elizabethton High School, who scored with a time of 28.67 seconds.
   Blevins temporarily saw his name atop the leader board before the lightning fast run of Southern. Blevins missed the calf coming out of the chute, but stayed with the calf to the end of the arena and tied it up at the far end fence.
   "It (the rope) hooked around a horn there on the first loop," said Blevins about the failed first attempt to get the calf. "It came out of it. The lead didn't last too long. Jordan had a real good run on that calf."
   Rounding out the top five spots in the calf roping were Kurt Kight at 30.40 seconds, Happy Valley junior Josh Johnson with a 32.51 and Brad Manuel, who was credited with a 45.65 mark after being assessed a ten-second penalty for breaking the gate too soon.
   "It wasn't too good," said a disappointed Johnson about finishing fourth. "I don't know what happened on that first attempt (to rope the calf). I misguided him I guess. I made a score, but it wasn't a good one."
   The bareback competition offered early excitement, maybe a little too much excitement for event winner Cody Parks of Wytheville, Virginia. Parks' horse named 007 came roaring out of the chutes and headed to the right side of the arena by the fence. The promptly named horse provided all the action of a James Bond movie thrill, crashing into and throwing Parks over the metal fence onto the ground.
   Parks was unhurt after the fall and managed to stay inbounds just long enough to garner a 69-point mark. In the other qualified ride, Josh Houseman, also of Wytheville, took second place after scoring a 63 on a less eventful ride.
   Keith Fortuner of Rural Retreat, Va. jumped to the ground, had a tough time tackling a difficult steer, but still won the bulldogging competition after completing the task in 27.71 seconds.
   In the girls' breakaway roping, only one cowgirl posted a time, but it was a fast one. India Clyburn dispatched her fellow competitors getting to the calf and successfully getting the lasso around its head in 7.50 seconds.
   The junior cowboys and cowgirls were in full swing as well. Kelly Beahm of Draper, Virginia was the only one of three cowboys, who stayed on the back of his calf the necessary four seconds required, to win the PeeWee Bullriding competition with a score of 62.
   In a similar exhibition for the littlest tikes, Barron Semones rode his sheep for the time needed to score a 60 and be awarded the win for mutton busting.
   The junior boys' breakaway roping saw Beahm capture his second competition of the night with a tremendous run of 5.75 seconds. J.R. Boothe took the runner-up position with a time of 21.61 seconds.
   Junior steers saw a deadlock for the top position. James Ratcliff and Michael Lane were each awarded first place with 68 point rides. That kept the rest of the 10-cowboy field at bay. Bo Pollard and Jeff Gouge, who had entered his very first rodeo, tied for third place in the junior steers with the judges giving each 62 point marks.
   The second day of action at the VHSA and Jr. Association rodeo starts today at 2:00 p.m. at the Evening Breeze Arena in the Blue Springs section of Stoney Creek.