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National Junior High School Rodeo Finals

By Ddee Haynes

On June 18-24, 2017 in Lebanon, Tenn., more than 1,100 junior high school cowgirls and cowboys from 46 states, Australia, British Columbia and Canada gathered to compete in one of the world’s largest rodeos. The week included a total of 13 performances: six first round performances, six second round performances and the short round, also known as the short go.

Each contestant would compete two times, one time per round. The cowboys and cowgirls with the best average after two rounds of competition would earn their spot in the short go. Only the top 20 with the best average on two runs or two rides would qualify for the prestige of being in the final round. In timed events, the lower the average the better, while in rough stock the higher the average the better.

In 2016 the Oklahoma Junior High School Rodeo team was crowned the world champions. So going into 2017, team Oklahoma had a reputation as the team to beat, and each member did their best to defend their championship title.

Despite the mud and all the adverse conditions, team Oklahoma showed grit, heart and a whole lot of try. The Okie kids continued to win and/or place in each performance and in each round gathering team points along the way.

As I watched from the stands along with all the other Oklahoma mothers, fathers, siblings, grandparents and friends, my heart was filled with pride for each and every Oklahoma team member. While other kids from different states slowed their horses down, dismounted a little slower, or in one instance just gave up and stopped trying, I can honestly say not once did I see an Oklahoma cowboy or cowgirl not giving 100 percent. Those kids showed their true “cowboy” colors or red, white and never run blue!

At the end of rounds one and two, Team Oklahoma had 14 members in the top 20 qualify to move into the final round, “the short-go.” The Oklahomans had one or more qualifying members in each event with the exception of barrel racing, boys’ goat tying, and rifle shooting. With good ground to work on in the short round, Oklahoma turned it on and once again proved they were the team to beat, leaving it all in the arena!

A True Cowboy

I was doing an internet search and found this music video. The band, Family of the Year, has a song, Hero and this is their official music video. They follow a real life rodeo cowboy and through the journey show us how he struggles with family and physical pain to do what he loves most. Isn't it true for all of us?


Chris Parton in his blog for CMT EDGE writes, "The cowboy up-and-coming bull rider Nicolas Sartor let the Los Angeles ensemble film some of the daily grind on his family’s ranch in California. Other than the day job he holds down in the video (he’s actually a welder), everything you see is real."


Parton describes that the pill-popping Sartor has to do in the video is the result of a head injury. "His helmet was broken one day, but Sartor decided to ride anyway — a bad decision. He’s now back on the bulls and taking cringe-inducing spills like nothing ever happened."

Queens and Cowboys

There is a documentary that will be coming out soon. The description on the webpage describes it like this. "QUEENS & COWBOYS: A Straight Year on the Gay Rodeo” chronicles a complete season of the International Gay Rodeo Association. Roping and riding across north America for the past 30 years, the IGRA’s courageous cowboys and cowgirls brave challenges both in and out of the arena on their quest to qualify for the World Finals at the end of the season. And along the way, they’ll bust every stereotype in the book.


But it’s more than just cowboys and rodeos. The film exposes the world to the unsung LGBT community of both the old and new west. Examining where our country currently stands on the issue of gay rights, this uniquely American subject will explore how far we’ve come, and what challenges we still have ahead."


You can follow the film from it's webpage: