Little Britches Rodeo Kids Shine in Pueblo
Colorado Springs, Colo.
July 28 through August 2 in Pueblo proved to be the scene of some red-hot rodeo action for more than 900 kids. The National Little Britches Rodeo Association held its World Finals at the Colorado State Fairgrounds crowning 30 World champions in five different classes.
The Little Wrangler class, ages 5 through 8, was added three years ago and gives the littlest cowboys and cowgirls four different events to compete in. This years Little Wrangler All-Around World Champion was Tatum Hughes out of Carmen, Okla., winning the Finals and the World with 2,948 points for the season.
The weather in Pueblo was as hot as the rodeo, hitting 105 degrees on one day. The weather didn’t appear to bother the kids very much, but the adults were another story. Wearing big hats and clutching their water bottles and cold drinks tightly the family and fans cheered on the kids with loud enthusiasm.
In the Junior Girls class, Kristina Reys, from Las Vegas, Nev., claimed the All-Around title with 2880 points, and Rickie Engesser out of Spearfish, S.D., claimed the World Barrel Racing title. Kyle King, from Iowa, La., won the Junior Boys All-Around World Championship with 2,649 points and Pierre, S.D., cowboy Carbon Music claimed the Finals All-Around title.
In the Senior Girls Competition, Sheanna Shipley, out of Olathe, Colo., grabbed the Senior Girls World All-Around gold buckle. Elbert, Colorado’s own Tiana Yocam won the World Barrel Racing scoring 840 points for the Gold Buckle and the Saddle. The Senior Boys World All-Around fell to Loncey Johnson, out of North Platte, Neb., riding in the Saddle Bronc and Bull Riding events good for 1175 points. Jacob Wahlert, from La Junta, Colo., won the World Bareback championship with a great total of 970 points.
This year’s finals rodeo drew contestants from 25 different states, qualifying from nearly 300 circuit events. At a time when gas and other travel expenses are at an all time high the entries grew from 846 in 2007 to 901 this year. Families are committed to the lifestyle and find time to help the kids pursue their dreams, even if it means temporarily shelving some other activities.
Prizes range from saddles and buckles to gift certificates but the most important prizes are the $60,000 in scholarships put up by the Little Britches Association and thousands more in academic scholarships put up by great sponsors like Heel-O-Matic and Wrangler Jeans.
To say this years World Finals were a success would be an understatement, to say it was a red-hot success would be accurate ” red-hot rodeo stars in a red-hot finals rodeo, what more could you ask for?
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From June through September, John Etchart spends most of the day driving a tractor through hayfields below the mountains near Meeker in northwestern Colorado.