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Kaitlyn Harwell - submitted photo

Kaitlyn Harwell – submitted photo

Three Artesia High School Rodeo members competed at the National High School Finals in Gillette, Wyoming July 17th­23rd. They competed in two rounds and a short round if they qualified in the top 20 after the first two rounds. The top 4 competitors in each event from every state and Australia, competed at Nationals.

Maddy Deerman, who will be a junior this upcoming school year, was the State Champion in the Breakaway Roping and Team Roping, thus qualifying her for Nationals in both events. She placed 8th in the first round of the Breakaway Roping with a 2.57 and after her second qualified time of 3.85, she had a combined average time of a 6.42 and ended up 15th in the average.

Since she was in the top 20, she got to compete in the short round on Saturday night. In the short round, Maddy roped her calf in 2.2 seconds, which was 3rd in the go. This landed her 5th in the nation overall with an 8.62 on three head. She also did well in the Team Roping, roping every steer but her heeler missed the first steer and only caught one leg on their second steer, thus putting them out of the top 20.

Kaitlyn Harwell, who will also be a junior this upcoming school year, was the State Champion in Pole Bending and Cutting. These two state titles also helped her attain the All Around Cowgirl Title, thus qualifying her for Nationals in the Pole Bending and Cutting.

She placed 27th in the first round of the Pole Bending with a 20.636 and after her second smoking run of a 20.242, she had a combined average time of 40.878 and ended up 16th in the average. Unfortunately, she hit a pole in the short round giving her a 5 second penalty on top of her 20.2, so her combined time was a 25.2. This gave her a combined average of 66.078 on three runs which ended up 18th in the nation.

Kaitlyn chose not to compete in the Cutting at Nationals, but did make a bold move to run for Vice President of NHSRA.

She was in a tough field of competition running against 9 other competitors, although she was defeated, she did a great job campaigning and giving her speech.

Blaise Milligan, who will be a senior this upcoming school year, was the State Champion Bull Rider and in the top 4 in the Saddle Bronc Riding, which qualified him for Nationals in both events. He placed 21st on his first round bull with a score of 55, definitely not the draw he wanted or was capable of a win on. He came down early on his second bull taking him out of the average.

He bucked off both of his Saddle Bronc horses, but considering he just started this event in January of this year, just making Nationals was a great accomplishment! All three of these High School Students are repeat qualifiers to Nationals, not only at the High School level, but also the Junior High level.

They have to make above a 2.0 to be able to compete in the High School rodeos, not only do they do that, but they have a combined GPA of a 3.9! They are extraordinary individuals who know what it takes, not only to compete at the National level, but also how to carry themselves. They not only understand what it takes to compete, but they also understand the expense of Nationals and just rodeo in general. These students hustled around town talking to businesses and raising money for their Nationals trip. I want to thank all the businesses that helped get them fund their trip to Nationals:

DDans, Eddy Co. Sherriff’s Posse, Lowell’s Pharmacy, Yates Petroleum, Western Bank, Mark Smith, Linda Jackson, Sun Country Garden, Tanya Yaste, Phyliss Crockett, Dr Rauch, Lois Oliver Real Estate, Jesse Brownfield, Quality Milk, and Wilbanks Trucking.

In addition to our High School kids making Nationals, we also had three Junior High kids make Nationals. Not only did they qualify for Nationals, but they were all three State Champions in their respective events. They travelled to Lebanon, Tennessee on June 19th­25th for the National Junior High Finals.

Clate Harwell, who will be an 8th grader at Artesia Junior High School this upcoming school year, was the State Champion Boys Breakaway Roper. He placed 9th in the first round of competition with a time of 2.87. Unfortunately, Clate missed his second calf taking him out of the average or an opportunity at the short round.

Baili Herring, who will be a Freshman this upcoming school year, and a new member of the Artesia High School Rodeo team, was the State Champion Girls Breakaway Roper. She was 17th in the first round with a 3.58 and 43rd in the second round with a 4.77.

This combined average of 8.35 on two head earned her a position in the short round, which is the top 20 combined times on two head. Baili was an impressive 2.57 in the short round, which won the round and earned her 4th place overall in the Nation.

Jade Jackson, who will be a 7th grader at Artesia Intermediate School this upcoming school year, was the State Champion Ribbon Roper. Jade and her partner, Quay Lloyd, were 33rd in the first round with a 12.31. Unfortunately Quay missed his calf in the second round which took them out of the average or any chance at the short round.

These three Junior High Students also have to adhere to New Mexico Athletics Association rules and make above a 2.0 GPA, and be in good standing with their school. All three of these students make excellent grades and are assets to the Artesia Public Schools.

Photos are courtesy of Acentric Video of Denver, CO.