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Adams County Christian School recent graduate advances to national rodeo finals

NATCHEZ — In just two years of competing in rodeos Win Mardis of Natchez has advanced to the National High School Rodeo Association Finals in the steer-wrestling category.

The finals will be held July 17-23 at the Lazy E Arena in Guthrie, Oklahoma.

“I have not competed in the national finals before. I’m nervous about competing in it but I will see how it will go,” Mardis said.

Mardis advanced to the finals by winning the Mississippi High School Rodeo Association State Finals on June 17-20 in Purvis where he competed against 10 other high-school steer wrestlers.

Mardis graduated this year from Adams County Christian School. During the 2019-2020 Mississippi High School Rodeo Association season, Mardis competed in 11 rodeos.

According to the National High School Rodeo Association, steer wrestling is when a person on horseback chases a steer before jumping from the horse and attempting to wrestle the steer to the ground in the quickest amount of time.

Mardis said when he was 6 he wanted to get involved in rodeos.

“My uncle, Kyle Irwin, participates in rodeos for a living,” Mardis said. “In 2018, I attended a steer-wrestling clinic in Alabama and I wanted to try it out. At the clinic, I learned the fundamentals and mechanics of steer-wrestling.”

Irwin is a professional steer wrestler and is from Robertsdale, Alabama. In 2019, Irwin earned $134,934 in a variety of rodeo competitions. Irwin said he is happy to see the hard work pay off for Mardis.

“It’s neat to watch him accomplish one of his goals that he has set,” Irwin said. “It is a sense of accomplishment for him and I have felt it myself.”

To practice for any rodeo competition, Mardis said he spends approximately 10-12 hours a week exercising five horses and practicing in his family’s arena located in Natchez off of the Natchez Trace.

“During practices, I focus on making good clean runs and making sure that my horse works the best that it can,” Mardis said.