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Local student competes in rodeos

NATCHEZ — Lionel Brown Jr. isn’t your typical Natchez High senior. He spends his weekends traveling around Mississippi chasing and lassoing calves.

He is one of only three black members of the Mississippi High School Rodeo Association.

“I don’t even think about all that,” Brown said. “I just go out there and have fun.”

Brown got his first horse from his grandfather when he was 6 years old, but it wasn’t until five years ago he got into calf roping.

“Calf roping is very competitive,” Brown said. “One blink and you lose.”

Brown competes in over 27 rodeos across Mississippi between August and June.

“It gets expensive once you consider diesel, food and hotels,” Brown said. “It may cost more than $500 in one weekend.”

He said he hoped his No. 3 ranking in the state would help him eventually get a scholarship to college where he plans studying either veterinarian science or sports medicine.

On Saturday there will be a barbecue at the Natchez Sports Center to help raise money to help with Brown’s expenses.

“It’s hard but it’s all in what you want,” Brown said.

Brown’s mother Doris Brown said she was excited when people from the Sports Center said they wanted to do the barbecue.

“At one time Lionel was ranked No. 1 in the state,” Doris said. “Carhartt along with the Sports Center and other local business have been great to us. They said Lionel was the type of kid they wanted to support. He is such a humble person.”

Brown said he still needed sponsors and help getting enough money to make it to the rodeos.

“No amount is too small,” he said. “Every little thing helps.”

For more information on how to help Brown call 601-446-7465 or 601-597-2079.