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Maddy Deerman (Courtesy Photo)

Four Artesia High School rodeo team members qualified and competed at the National High School Finals in Gillette, Wyo., at the end of July.

Bryce McCormick competed in the cutting, Blaise Milligan in the bull riding and saddle bronc riding, Kaitlyn Harwell in the pole bending and cutting, and Maddy Deerman in the team roping and breakaway roping. They represented AHS as part of the New Mexico team. Out of the four that qualified for nationals, three of them were in the top 20 after two runs and qualified for the Championship Round.

In the pole bending event, junior Harwell was 17th on her first run with a 20.491 and 23rd on her second run with a 20.421, which was good enough for the top 20 and a spot in the

Kaitlyn Harwell (Courtesy Photo)

short round. She was 10th in the short round with a solid 20.884 that gave her an average time of 61.796 on three runs, which landed her eighth in the nation. Harwell was 16th in the nation last year in this event.

Deerman, also a junior, qualified for the championship round in the breakaway with a 2.97, which was a 24th-place finish in the first round, and a 2.35, which was a third-place finish in the second round. She drew a runner in the last round and was a 3.19, which was eighth in the round and gave her an average time of 8.51 on three runs. Her efforts were good enough for fifth in the nation, which is exactly where she ended up last year also.

Senior Milligan was fifth in the first round of the bull riding with a score of 76, bucked off in the second round, but still qualified for the Championship Round. He rode his bull in the Championship Round but opted for a re-ride

Blaise Milligan (Courtesy Photo)

when offered by the judges, which was a gutsy move. He bucked off his re-ride and ended up 14th overall.

These three kids were among the seven from New Mexico that qualified for the Championship Round, which is really impressive!!

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