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AHS rodeo takes six state titles

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(Courtesy Photo)
(Courtesy Photo)

The New Mexico High School Rodeo state finals were held during Memorial Day weekend in Gallup.

The Artesia team competed all over the state, going to 10 rodeos in the fall and 10 rodeos in the spring to qualify for the state finals. Nine Artesia High School students participated in their respective events.

Maddy Deerman competed in breakaway roping and team roping; Kaitlyn Harwell in barrel racing, pole bending, goat tying, breakaway roping, team roping, and cutting; Bryce McCormick in calf roping, team roping and steer wrestling; Jon Solt in calf roping and team roping; Beau Kelley in steer wrestling and team roping; Blaise Milligan in saddle bronc riding, bull riding and team roping; and Morgan Brown, Tyrell Sims and Payson Hendrix in bull riding.

Kaitlyn Harwell participate in the cutting event. (Courtesy Photo)
Kaitlyn Harwell participate in the cutting event. (Courtesy Photo)

One member, Noah Mauldin, was unable to compete at the state finals but attended all regular-season rodeos. The 10-member team carries a cumulative GPA of 3.6, which is pretty impressive considering the time they put into not only rodeo but other sports and activities they are involved in.

Five of the nine AHS rodeo competitors ended up in the top 10 in their events and go to compete in the short round on Saturday night. Those five team members were Harwell in barrel racing, pole bending and goat tying; Deerman in breakaway roping and team roping; Milligan in saddle bronc riding and bull riding; and Kelley and McCormick in steer wrestling. This was enough to help our team secure the Reserve State Team Title.

Three state titles were sewn up before state finals and a fourth was pretty much sewn up also, but the other two came right down to the last go. Harwell already had such a lead in the pole bending, cutting and All-Around Cowgirl that she really didn’t even have to show up for state finals to win her events.

Blaise Milligan holds on tight during the saddle bronc riding. (Courtesy Photo)
Blaise Milligan holds on tight during the saddle bronc riding. (Courtesy Photo)

Deerman had a great lead in the breakaway roping going into state finals and ended up, not surprisingly, winning the state title. She and her partner roped tough in the team roping and also won the state team roping title. Milligan went into state finals in third place in the bull riding, but after an impressive first round and short round, ended up the state champion bull rider. He was fourth in the saddle bronc riding, which secures a spot for the National High School Finals Rodeo in that event also.

Harwell, Deerman and Milligan will travel July 17-23 to Gillette, Wyo., to compete in the NHSFR. They will be competing against all the other states in the U.S. and Australia and Canada. The expense of the nationals trip is huge, and you may have seen these three in town talking to local business owners about sponsoring this event.

These three students are very impressive, not only by the way they carry themselves and their people skills but also their academic abilities and work ethic. The three of them have a combined GPA of 3.9, and two are in the National Honor Society.

We are having our last fundraiser, not only for nationals but also for fall travel money, from 4-10 p.m. Friday and 10 a.m. – 10 p.m. Saturday at Smokin’ on the Pecos at the Eddy County Fairgrounds. The kids will be selling water and soda at two different booths to raise money.

Maddy Deerman competes in the breakaway event. (Courtesy Photo)
Maddy Deerman competes in the breakaway event. (Courtesy Photo)

I encourage the public to come out to this fun event and visit with these young competitors. You will not be disappointed. I want to thank all the businesses who have already donated to help these kiddos out. I am always overwhelmed at the generosity of this city and county when it comes to supporting its youth!

(EDITOR’S NOTE: Kerrie Pitts is the coach of the AHS rodeo team.)

Brienne Green
Daily Press Editor

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