I've been planning on running a series about rodeo, the Mountainair Association and its events. My thanks to Red Kingston for explaining the NM youth rodeo system. A good place to start... and don't forget to come to the NMJRA rodeo Sunday June 21
The junior rodeo we are hosting on June 20 & 21 is sanctioned by the New Mexico Junior Rodeo Assc. This assoc. was started back in the 1950's and is for any kids age 19 or younger. I grew up rodeoing in this Association before moving onto amatuer rodeos and some college rodeos while I was attendeing ENMU at Portales, NM, where I grew up. This assoc. is a good place for the younger kids to get rodeo experience before they get to the High School ranks. It is one of several rodeo assoc. available to New Mexico youth.
In 2004. the Wrangler Division Junior High Rodeos started. It is for 6th, 7th, and 8th graders. The High School Rodeos started back in the 1950's and is for 9th, 10th, 11th, and 12th grades. So the NMJRA is a good opprotunity for the younger kids to get started. Many western states have a junior rodeo associations, but a number of eastern states do not have rodeo associations for younger riders. One reason Wrangler started sponsoring the Junior High Association rodeos was to get more kids involved and ready to compete in the High School organization.
The New Mexico Junior Rodeo has 4 age groups split for boys and girls: 8 and under, 9 to 11, 12 to 14, and 15 to 19. Youth participants can't have been married or a high school drop out. It is a non profit organization designed to organize any interested youth and keep the cowboy lifestyle alive.
The board of directors consists of adults who, for the most part, have children competing in the rodeos. They volunteer their time to run the rodeos which are held across the state of New Mexico. The season is usually 6 weekends of two individual rodeos held on Saturday and Sunday, plus a 2 day finals rodeo held at the end of the year to award the contestants with prizes from All Around Cowboy and Cowgirl down the list to the last placing contestant.
Every contestant gets some award be it a saddle, belt buckle or tack that they can use for their events. Also, at each weekend of rodeos, the all around cowboys and cowgirls in each age group are awarded belt buckles as iss the top rough stock rider.
team roping, a popular rodeo eventThere are many rodeo organizations that I did not mention earli. 4-H, High Plains, Little Britches, as well as the local Gymkahanas. These all are stepping stones to the larger organizations of Junior High, High School, Amatuer, even the Professional Cowboys Rodeo Assc.
Many professionals rodeoing today got their start at youth rodeos and in organizations like the Mountainair Gymkhana Rode. One example is Taos Muncy, who was raised down at Corona, NM. As a small boy he started coming to the Mountainair Gymkahana, then the New Mexico Junior Rodeo, then into High School, into College Rodeo and was the 2007 World Champion Saddle Bronc Rider at the PRCA National Finals Rodeo held in Las Vegas Nevada in December of each year. He was out of competion for a while in 2008 but is back this year. I just looked it up in the standings and he is now 7th inthe world.
submited by Red Kingston, Manager, Mountainair Gymkhana Rodeo Association