We’ve got skills both in and out of the arena. Check out the rapping skills of “The Fresh Kids” of NHSRA!
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The cowboy hat is a tool of the trade, but it also helps to form an identity. A hat can tell a lot about a person, simply by how it’s shaped, the coloring, and even scrapes and stains it collects as it travels down the rodeo road.
American Hat Company is celebrating their 100th year and as you can imagine they have sold millions of hats that all have probably earned their own unique stories, but there are many of these hats whose stories are just beginning at the National High School Finals Rodeo.
“We have a hat for everyone here: The trend setters, trend adopters, and those who are tried and true,” said Keith Mundee, President of American Hat Company. “Everything we have is hand woven. We make our hats fashionable, but functional.”
Rodeo Kids are tough on their hats and that’s why American Hats focuses on quality, making not only the finest felt hats in the world, but their straw hats are dipped in petroleum based lacquer.
“You can wear our hats in the rain and if you happen to get bucked off, fall down or get your hat crushed somewhere, it’s more than likely you’ll be able to get it back to their original shape,” said Mundee. “They will hold their shape a lot better because of the lacquer.”
Mundee liked American Hats and their partnership with NHSRA to branding.
“The term branding is a western term and for us it’s about branding as many calves as we possibly can,” said Mundee. “We want to reach as many young people and get them branded in American Hats, teaching them to be proud of this cowboy hat. It’s the most recognizable piece of apparel on planet Earth. Anywhere I drop you with this hat on, somebody is going to say “Are you a cowboy or a cowgirl?””
American Hat Company is proud to be a part of the NHSRA family and believe that NHSFR, being the “world’s largest rodeo” is one of the greatest events to be involved with.
“It’s (NHSRA) full of great young people and wonderful parents,” said Mundee. “We love being here!”
National High School Rodeo Association contestants work all year for the chance to win a coveted National High School Finals Rodeo (NHSFR) title. Competitors and their horses know each other like the back of their hand (or perhaps hoof?) and they share the excitement to show off their skills in front of thousands.
You can imagine the disappointment there is when your main partner in crime and four-legged pal comes up injured when that hard work pays off and your time to shine finally comes. Oregon cowboy, Clay Gorden experienced that heart-stopping feeling when his top Reined Cow Horse, Mickey, formed an abscess during his performance in Go-Round One, coming up lame.
Gorden was excited to show his horse in the Reined Cow Horse event at NHSFR, as he would like to one day train horses and ranch.
“Mickey is six-years-old and I got him last spring. We clicked really well the last couple months and did really good,” said Gorden.
Mickey was pulled from the competition. While many people would think their chances for a National title ended there, Gorden called his Uncle Flint Lee for help.
Lee, from Fallon, Nevada trains Reined Cow Horses.
“I got the call during the middle of a lesson. Once that was done I loaded up a horse for him and headed to Rock Springs,” said Lee.
Nick, Mickey’s sire, was the lucky pick for Gorden to ride. After driving all night, the trusty steed, arrived just in the “Nick” of time, about an hour before the performance.
“We unloaded Nick, got him some water and then Clay rode him around to get a feel for him,” said Lee.
Nick is owned by Sandy Friberg, a client of Lee’s. With a background in the Snaffle Bit Futurity through the National Reined Cow Horse Association, Nick was the horse for the job and handled Gorden’s second go run like a champ.
“It is very difficult to just jump on something and go out there with confidence,” said Lee. “I thought he (Gorden) did a great job of presenting himself in the arena and being aggressive and going for it.”
Gorden was impressed with how his run went having a new mount under him, riding Nick as if he had rode him plenty of times before.
“It was just kind of like: Here you go. Give it all you got and you just go with it, because it’s either that or you don’t get to show,” said Gorden. “I feel very special, very spoiled. It means a lot to me that Flint would bring him (Nick) here for me.”
Gorden and his family would like to thank Friberg for allowing them to borrow Nick.
NHSRA Student Officers get to know each other pretty well throughout their terms. Do you think you can guess the answers?
Time to go behind the chutes and find out the true thoughts of our National High School Rodeo Contestants.
A leader has a certain look about them. They carry themselves in a professional and confident manner, dressed to the nines, without a doubt, noticeable. The National High School Finals Rodeo (NHSFR) has thousands of leaders, but they dress a little differently. Ariat boots that have seen dirt in just about every state, starched (extra heavy) Cinch jeans and shirts, Gist Silversmiths buckles shined, and an American Hat to top the look off. While this may sound like the average cowboy or cowgirl, you probably ask what it is that makes them stand out. Well, it’s the limited edition Carroll Original Wear trophy jacket, which every NHSFR qualifier and contestant has the chance to proudly strut around.
“One thing about a jacket, is you can see it. It’s a walking billboard,” said Chad Fairchild, Carroll Original Wear Vice President. “It allows those kids to be able to impress upon people that they’ve worked hard to get here. They are the top four in each event from each state or province. It’s truly impressive.”
Carroll Original Wear is the official merchandiser and trophy jacket sponsor for National High School Rodeo Association (NHSRA). An industry leader in manufacturing and distributing finished leather in the United States, their leather jackets are the best available on the market.
The demand for the custom qualifier jackets is high as contestants formed a long line in hopes to be the first to wear this year’s unique design.
“There’s a race to get here to get them because we bring a limited amount to finals. Everyone else won’t get their jacket till the fall,” said Fairchild.
Each competitor’s jacket boasts the events they qualified in, as well as their name.
“I’m proud to make Nationals. It’s really great to be able to show that,” said team roper and steer wrestler, Trey Eurdie.
Manitoba, Canada Cowgirl, Gabrielle Fouillard had a rough beginning to her season, but she pulled through in the spring and finished second in her province in the barrel racing.
“The most exciting part to wear one of these jackets is to tell people you made it to NHSFR. It makes you more noticeable,” said Fouillard. “I have my jacket from last year too and when I wear it at home people will stop and ask me about it. To have a collection from each year you qualify is neat. It’s really awesome to have their (Carroll Original Wear’s) support in what we do here.”
Carroll Original Wear strives to be partners for profit with NHSRA, but not necessarily meaning monetarily. They want to win their way in, building a relationship with contestants, as part of the rodeo family.
“The thing with these kids is this is our future,” said Fairchild. “When we say we are partners for profit we aren’t necessarily meaning money. We are meaning the opportunity to be in the lives of these families and for it to be profitable for them.”
Fairchild considers sponsoring NHSRA to be very prestigious.
“To walk out there in the world’s largest rodeo on dirt and see your banners fly and flags going around in the arena; It’s a feeling that makes the hairs stand up on your arms,” said Fairchild. “I’ve been seeing it for many years and I get the same feeling every performance. The appreciation you get from these kids with the “Yes sir and yes ma’am,” the national anthems sung every night, and a prayer are all part of what makes it special.”
With more than 1,600 contests attending the National High School Finals Rodeo this year we present to you:
The Shootout Round
We will be introducing several of our members who are brave enough to face the challenge… How many questions can you answer in a minute?
Be on the lookout, because you never know when you may be next to be in a shootout!
It’s quite the sight to take in… Rodeo rigs pulling in by the minute, contestants jumping out to stretch their legs, but the first thing they are concerned with is taking care of their sturdy steeds.
Miranda and Madison Iager from Maryland are proud to unload their “not so typical” rodeo mounts from the trailer after a long haul. Gato and Peaches may stand out due to extremely long ears, but they do not lack any heart.
“Mules are a lot more sure footed, a lot smarter, and a lot smoother,” said Miranda. “They are not as fast (as horses), but they are a lot of fun!”
Madison will be competing on Peaches for the National High School Finals Rodeo Queen contest. She is the first queen to use a mule during the horsemanship portion of the pageant.
“Peaches was actually the first mule to have ever been at the NHSFR in 2014,” said Madison.
Miranda and Gato will be competing in the goat-tying, making it the first time that a mule has ever competed in the timed events.
The sisters started riding and showing mules at a young age because their uncle was the first man to have mules in Maryland. They joined NHSRA two years ago and have not let those long ears drag them down.
“I’m looking forward to competing and showing off my mule,” said Miranda.
The National High School Finals Rodeo runs through July 12-18, 2015. Come and cheer on all of our four-legged critters and top notch competitors, as well as get your shopping done at the NHSFR Trade Show.
National High School Finals Rodeo (NHSFR) check-in has begun and Taylor Harty-Moffatt, the New Mexico High School Rodeo Queen, was first in line. Don’t be fooled; it is quite a feat to check in first at NHSFR, a title that Miss Texas High School Rodeo has held for the last four years.
Since July 2, 2015 Taylor has camped through hail, rain, and flash flooding. Like any good rodeo queen, her journey from Las Cruces was eventful, including a “sleep-over” with a bull snake in northern New Mexico and seeing the sites around Rock Springs, Wyoming.
“I’m just happy to be here,” said Taylor. “I’ve met amazing people and even the local people here in Rock Springs have been welcoming us with open arms. I’ve been amazed with the hospitality.”
Taylor brought a truck load of her biggest fans, including her mother, Dawn Hartly-Moffatt, and her Queen Coordinator, Devin Sisk. She is honored with the support of the New Mexico High School Rodeo Committee and contestants.
“I’ve made so many friends. We all stick together and the New Mexico team is going to try and win a National Championship this year,” said Taylor.
The National High School Rodeo Queen contest kicks off Friday, July 10 with 45 talented young women competing. The Horsemanship Competition begins at 1:30pm in the indoor arena and is open to the public. Come support the young women who help to promote and keep the sport of rodeo alive and well.