Junior rodeo highlight for youngsters

CNJ staff photo: Tony Bullocks Clovis farrier Dusty Leatherwood fits a horseshoe to the hoof of El Paso on Monday at the Curry County Fairgrounds. Leatherwood was shoeing the horse in preparation for this week’s High Plains Junior Rodeo Association Finals.

By Keely McDowell: CNJ staff writer

The High Plains Junior Rodeo Association Finals are a 30-year tradition in Clovis, and are important for the contestants as well as the community, according to organizers.

With 135 contestants registered to compete in the week-long event at the Curry County Fairgrounds, the rodeo is expected to draw around 500 people to Clovis.

“The participants and their families bring a lot of business to Clovis’ hotels and restaurants,” said Karen McDaniel, director of the HPJRA Finals. “They spend the entire week and eat out at least two to three times a day.”

The event requires a year of planning, according to McDaniel, and is the most important competition for area junior rodeo contestants.

“It is the year end for the junior rodeo season. It is like the Super Bowl for them,” McDaniel said.

Contestants qualify for the finals if they receive at least one point and if they compete in at least three of the 14 rodeos held during the season, according to the JoAnn Middleton, the HPJRA coordinating secretary

Contestants in four age groups will compete in nine roping, riding and racing events.

The rodeo starts at 6 p.m. today and continues through Saturday.