Area athletes in high school rodeo finals
Friday, 15 June 2012 by Chuck Kelly
"Rodeos and cowboys are as Texan as the Alamo, the Red River or the Big Bend, and they provide wholesome, exciting family entertainment. Skills which were born of necessity on the western range have today evolved into a sport requiring strength, speed, agility and ability." Those are the words of the former President of the United States George W. Bush when he was Governor of our great state. He added: "Texas is proud to be a cowboy state."
The length of a rodeo cowboy's competitive life is usually much shorter than..... say....an accountant, a salesmen, etc. The hard ground in the arena when one bucks off takes its toll eventually and getting stomped on by a bull or bronc can cause a myriad of physical problems.
That could account for the fact that today, the old timers are looking over their shoulders at the rodeo youth movement. Some of the toughest riders coming out of the chutes look as though they haven't even shaved yet!
Once the "rush" when the gate opens and the cowboy or cowgirl hears the crowd roar....it's magic.
Where and when does it all start for the younger wanna-be-cowboys? On a "buckin' barrel" with friends in the back yard or scrambling to hang onto a frisky calf in the pasture or, as in many cases, in high school.
Many youngsters nowadays share football, baseball and basketball time with rodeoing.
Some compete at rodeos on the weekend and some of those become so skilled that they wind up on the professional circuit later and "cowboy up" for big money.
Some of those youngsters have competed in Region X of the Texas High School Rodeo Association since last August and, just like in football, track or other high school sports, their marks have earned them a spot at "state".
Central Texas high school student athletes that have advanced to compete in the Texas High School Finals Rodeo in Abilene June 11-June 16 are:
Team Roping: Tyler Anderson, Gatesvllle; Jake Bloomer, Salado; Parker Cudd, Gatesville.
Team Roping, Calf Roping: Casey Jones, Gatesville; Trinton Downing, Troy; Dylan Cosper, Moody.
Calf Roping: Tye Eldridge, Killeen.
Pole Bending, Goat Tying, Barrel Racing: Samantha Chick, Salado.
Pole Bending, Barrel Racing: Shelby Zizzo, Belton; Macy Ashford, Lott; McKenzie Powell, Troy.
Barrel Racing: Kelsey Crawford, Troy.
And in the event that brings the crowd to the edge of their seats or to their feet ---
Bull Riding: Kenan Isbell, Gatesville; Pistol Preece, Troy; Justin Hendrix, Little River; and Colton Carter, Gatesville. That's next week. June 11-June 16 in Abilene --- The Texas High School Finals Rodeo.
We close this story with these words from Old Rodeo Cowboys, written by Dwight Graham in 2001:
"When we get too old to cowboy
We sit around and talk
Unlike the younger boys these days
We've already walked that walk."