In many sports events, preliminaries lead toward something often called the “finals.”
This weekend though, the whole thing is called the finals when New Mexico’s best high school cowboys and cowgirls get together. The New Mexico High School Rodeo Association Finals take place at the Curry County Special Events Center beginning at 9 a.m. today.
On Thursday, Friday and Saturday, competition will take place in dozen events throughout the day and in evening sessions that begin at 6 p.m. The final evening session on Saturday night isn’t dubbed “finals” in this case, but the “short-go.” Ultimately, the results from the short-go will put the last piece of the puzzle together to determine which competitors will have the right to go to the next level.
“When we get done here, the top four qualify for another finals — that’ll be the nationals in Rock Springs, Wyoming in July,” said Travis Howe, vice president of the New Mexico High School Rodeo Association (NMHSRA). “I guess in the rodeo world there’s a lot of finals.”
Howe has a rooting interest in this weekend’s activities as his son Bryce comes into the state finals as the overall leader in the bronc riding event.
“They rodeo all year long. Whenever they get here, the points they’ve accumulated come with them,” said Howe, whose family traveled from their home near Tatum for the finals.
Bryce Howe will have at least more room for error thanks to his performances earlier in the season. Before Saturday night’s short-go, the young cowboys and cowgirls will participate in two more go-arounds in Clovis for each event they’re qualified.
Howe is also in the mix for team roping and calf roping, although he’s not sitting up at the top of the pool.
Howe’s father thinks that both of those events are “up for grabs” and anyone entering this week’s finals in the top ten ultimately has a shot to go to Wyoming for nationals.
“The chances are a lot greater (for Bryce in the bronc riding) because his number of points is going to be a lot higher than someone sittin’ in the 10-hole,” Travis Howe says.
Some of the competitors who stand the best chance to be in another “finals” event include Leigh Ann Scribner of Edgewood, who is in first place in both girls breakaway roping and goat tying, while Leia Plummer of Bosque Farms, the front-runner in both the barrel racing and pole bending.
Just a half-point behind Howe in the bronc riding is Lon Danley of Tularosa, who also enters the weekend at second in bull riding behind Bloomfield’s Joseph McConnel.
- 10 a.m.-noon: Check-in for all contestants, Events Center
- 9 a.m. : Cutting first and second go
- 9 a.m.-2 p.m.: Scholarship interviews-Pavilion
- 10 a.m.: Queen’s written test
- Noon: Cutting short go
- 1 p.m. : Queen’s interview
- 3 p.m. : Mandatory contestant meeting
- 3 p.m. : Queen modeling and speeches
- 6 p.m. : First performance of first go round
- 9 a.m.: Second performance of first go round
- Noon: Goat roping and barbeque
- 4 p.m.: Queen’s horsemanship
- 6 p.m.: First performance of second go round
- 9 a.m.: Second performance of second go round
- Noon: Cowboy carnival
- 4 p.m.: Senior recognition night
- 5 p.m.: Go round, fastest times and highest scores, average winners - awards
- 5:30 p.m.: Queen coronation
- 6 p.m.: Short go
- 30 minutes following completion of rodeo: Awards and scholarship presentations
- 8 a.m.: Church Services, Events Center
- 9 a.m.: Breakfast
- 10 p.m.: Mandatory national contestant meeting