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Morgan Brown participates in bull riding. (Courtesy Photo)

The Eddy County Fairgrounds will be the home to over 150 contestants from all over the state March 25-26.

Rodeo action begins at 9 a.m. Saturday and 8 a.m. Sunday, with high school cutting at 4 p.m. Friday. Students will be competing in 12 different events of their choice, ranging from speed events for the girls, roping events for both girls and boys, and rough stock events for boys. It will be an exciting weekend packed with rodeo action!

High school rodeo consists of 10 rodeos in the fall and 10 rodeos in the spring, along with two rodeos and a short go at the state finals. Junior high rodeo consists of eight rodeos in the spring, along with two rodeos and a short go at state. The top four in each event qualify for nationals, with the high school national finals being in July in Gillette, Wyo., and the junior high national finals in June in Lebanon, Tenn.

There will be 13 hometown high school competitors and four hometown junior high competitors this weekend. Among the high school students, there are five seniors: Morgan Brown, Conager Derrick, Payson Hendrix, Blaise Milligan (past national qualifier and state champion) and Tyrell Sims; five juniors: Maddy Deerman (past national qualifier and state champion), Kaitlyn Harwell (past national qualifier, state champion, and junior high national champion), Beau Kelley, Bryce McCormick, and Jon Solt; two sophomores: Noah Mauldin and Sage Morris; and one freshman: Baili Herring (past national qualifier).

Among the junior high students, there are two eighth-graders: Denton Faver (past national qualifier) and Clate Harwell (past national qualifier and state champion); one seventh-grader: Jade Jackson (past national qualifier and state champion); and one sixth-grader: Tiffanie McCormick.

On top of rodeo action, the Artesia High School rodeo team will be bussing tables at Henry’s BBQ from 4:30 p.m. until closing Friday, March 24. Henry’s will be having a special of beer-battered cod on a sweet corn hoagie bun, two sides, and a drink for $8.75. Also, rodeo contestants will receive free drinks with their back number with meals.

The rodeo team busses tables to raise money for travel during the spring season and for state finals. They will be traveling to Farmington, Clovis, Gallup, Socorro, and back to Gallup for state finals Memorial Day weekend.

Please come out and support your local kiddos bussing tables Friday night and go cheer them on Saturday and Sunday. Thank you, Artesia, for your continued support of youth!

(EDITOR’S NOTE: Kerrie Pitts is the Artesia High School rodeo coach.)