Monday, April 19, 2004

Rodeo skills are learned young

Good things happening

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Chelsea and Elizabeth LaRue are busy roping calves, racing horses around barrels and poles and roping and tying goats.

This all takes place on the Field of Dreams Farm, owned by their parents, Rex and Lynn LaRue, in Pleasant Plain near Goshen.

The girls are members of the Ohio Little Britches Rodeo Association, and both are all-around champions in rodeo events.

Chelsea, 13, won first place in her age group for the last two years. Elizabeth, 11, was reserve (second place) champion in her age group last year.

Chelsea LaRue ,13, practices breakaway calf roping in the barn at her family's Pleasant Point farm.
(Melissa Heatherly photo)
"I don't feel any pressure on me defending my titles,'' said Chelsea, a seventh-grader at Village Christian School, Pleasant Plain. "Most of the children I compete with are my friends. I am just practicing every day to do my best.''

Little sister Elizabeth is equally confident.

"I have been in rodeos for three years, and I have been riding horses practically all my life,'' Elizabeth said. "I feel good and I think I am ready for the competition.''

She is a fifth-grader at Village Christian School.

The first of a series of rodeos will be May 8-9 at Champaign County Fairgrounds in Urbana.

"There will be about 75 kids in the competition,'' said Lynn LaRue. "We will have competition every month through September. The competition is broken up in two categories - kindergarten through eighth grades and high schoolers. In high school they can win scholarships to college.''

Sweet sounds

The Queen City Chorus won first place in the Sweet Adelines International, Region Four, Division A competition, April 1-4 in Covington.

The group will compete in the Harmony Classic, an international level competition in Greenville, S.C., this summer. Only the top five highest scoring small- and mid-size choruses are invited to perform.

Nancy Werden, president of the chorus, said it also placed fifth in overall points among choruses from Indiana, Kentucky, West Virginia and Pennsylvania.

"In Greenville, we will be competing against choruses throughout the world,'' Werden said. "We welcome singers to join us. We are always looking to grow.''

For more information, call 793-6843.

Volunteers lauded

More 30 youths ages 13-18 who provided more than 40 hours of volunteer service to the Cincinnati Recreation Commission received recognition from Mayor Charlie Luken and the commission at an awards dinner last Wednesday.

The youths helped senior programs, offered homework assistance, served on teen councils, attended citywide youth forums and aided in the planning and implementation of recreation center programs and special events.

The awards dinner was held at the Montgomery Inn Boathouse Turf Room.

Giving back

A sure sign of spring is the many walks to benefit research and raise awareness of critical diseases.

One such event is May 15 when the Hamilton County Chapter of the National Alliance for the Mentally Ill will hold its first NAMIWalk.

The local walk will be one of 34 nationwide this year, said Debbie Baker, walk coordinator. "This is the second year for the nationwide NAMIWalk, but our first," Baker said. "Our overall goal nationwide is to raise $1 million. We hope we can raise awareness, revenues and spirits."

The walk gets under way at 9 a.m., one hour after the check-in begins. Participants will start at Krestrel Point in Winton Woods and walk around Winton Lake, a distance of about 2 or 3 miles.

"We expect to have about 1,000 walkers," Baker said. "It doesn't cost anything to register, and we welcome everyone. We do encourage pledges."

Honorary chair for the walk is Reba St. Clair, one of the Enquirer Women of the Year honorees.

St. Clair is also involved with Mindpeace, an effort on behalf of children with mental illness, through the Junior League.

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