Their enthusiasm, commitment and personal voice shine through - hard to resist. I've enjoyed reading them and know you will too. By the way, what Red modestly forgets to mention is that he's the 2009 President of the NMJRA
I am not sure you are ready for this, but here goes: the New Mexico Junior Rodeo is coming to Mountainair, June 20 and 21. Each day's performances start at 9:00 a.m. and offers rodeo events from barrel racing to calf roping. There is flag-racing for the young kids up to bullriding for the oder cowboys. The age groups are 8 and under, 9 to 11, 12 to 14, and 15 to 19. This year, we even have a young lady competing in the 12 to 14 bullriding!
These kids and thier parents will come in to town from all over the state of New Mexico. From Las Cruces to Farmington. YES we do have a few from right here in the town of Mountainair and the surrounding Estancia Valley. All are trying to earn some cash and points to qualify for the finals rodeo and win either a saddle, buckle or other tack awards. This years finals are in Farmington, NM.
Here are some of the events you'll see and a little about them to help you :
(Ed note: basic rodeo event categories can be divided into timed events, livestock events, which has a further division into rough stock events, In some sense, all rodeo events are timed. The best time without mistakes wins timed event like barrels and poles, and the livestock events have time limits with best times winning - shortest time to rope and tie a calf, longest time to stay on a bronc.
Competitors must enter 8 of the 12 rodeos required to go to finals, but only their best points from ten rodeos will count in every event. This allows for the contestant to either miss a rodeo or, if they have a bad weekend, to drop their worst points.)
1 - calf roping: a cowboy tries to rope a calf weighing approximately 300 pounds, dismounting his horse rope taut to hold the calf as he, runs down the rope to throw the calf down and tie any 3 feet. The rider remounts and rides forward to let the rope go slack, The calf must stay tied for 6 seconds.
2 - breakaway roping: a girl or one of the younger cowboys tries to rope a calf around the neck and then stops their horse. When the rope gets tight, it breaks a thin piece of string tied to the saddle.
3 - flag race: cowboy or cowgirl rides from the start line around a barrel that has a bucket with a small on top of it. The rider grabs the flag, circles the barrel and races back to the finish line.
4 - barrel racing: the contestant, usually a girl but the younger cowboys can compete also, cross the start line, circle 3 barrels in a cloverleaf pattern and race back to the line to finish.
5- team roping: a team of 2 contestants try to rope a 500 pound steer around the horns turn the steer and the partner tries to rope the back legs, then the header will turn his horse to face steer and partner for time to stop.
6 - ribbon roping: a contestant ropes a calf dismounts and runs to calf where a partner grabs a ribbon that is attached to the tail and runs back across the finish line.
7 - goat tying: a contestant rides down tha arena to where a small goat is staked dismount the horse runs to goat, flanks the goat and ties any three feet.
8- pole bending: a contestant rides a horse across the line down the arena, circles the 6th pole, weaves through the other 5 poles turns back and reweaves to the 6th pole, circling it again to race back to the finish line.
9 - then of course there is the popular bull riding where the cowboy try to ride a 1500 to 2000 pound bull for 8 seconds, Yes, and for the smaller kids there is steerriding and for the 8 and under group the calfriding, where the young competitors try to ride a steer or calf for 6 seconds.
All these kids are trying to compete just like the professionals do in the Pro-Rodeo Cowboys Assoc (PRCA), the Women's Pro-Rodeo Assoc (WPRA) and the PBR. Watch these young cowboys and cowgirls prepare for a run or a ride: you can see the gleam in their eyes and their dream of someday being able to compete with or against their rodeo idols.
I have been around rodeo for most of my life and know how much it can teach our youth: discipline and determination to compete well, how to win or lose, and the friendships that will last a lifetime.
Editor's Note: want to learn more about rodeo? Check out the links below for more about rodeo and pictures.
- Rodeo photos http://www.nwyra.com/Photos.htm
- King's Kourt, Kyla King's photo site - http://kyla-king.smugmug.com, with pictures of NM Junior Rodeos & Mountainair Gymkhana Rodeos -
- Descriptions of Junior Rodeo Events http://www.nwyra.com/divisions_events.htm
- More about rodeo, including sections oh history and events