Rodeo finals will draw state's best teen-aged competitors

Thursday, June 20, 2002

A field of about 100 competitors from around the state will compete in the three-day Missouri High School Rodeo State Finals that begins today at Flickerwood Arena near Fruitland, Mo.

Contestants will vie in events from goat tying to bull riding for the rights to advance to the national competition. The top four in each event qualify for the nationals July 22-28 in Farmington, N.M.

The state finals are the culmination of a seven-rodeo fall schedule and ensuing nine-rodeo spring schedule that resumed in April. The top performers from the previous 16 events will compete for double points in the chase for the individual event state crowns and overall state crown in the boys and girls competition, and maybe even more.

"Some of our alumni have gone on to college scholarships through the state tournament," Missouri High School Rodeo board member Debbie Atchison said.

A top 10 finish in any event during the season qualified a competitor for the state finals.

Southeast Missouri will be represented with competitors from Jackson, Oak Ridge, Poplar Bluff, Perryville, Charleston, Delta and Sikeston in the field.

Larry Carter and Todd Acre, both of Poplar Bluff, are 1-2 in the boys' all-around standings entering the finals, while defending champion Kim Motley of Drexel again tops the girls' all-around.

Double points awarded in the state finals could play havoc with the standings.

Each event will be staged every night, but only the cumulative top 10 performers in each event will participate in Saturday's finals.

"Saturday night is kind of a winner-take-all deal," said Mark Boardman, owner of Flickerwood Arena, which is hosting the state finals for the second straight year. "Most of the races taking place all season will be decided Saturday night. That's pretty exciting. They have to come with their best game or they lose their spot. You have to perform under pressure."

Girls will compete in break-away roping, goat tying, pole bending, barrel racing and cutting. Boys' events are bare back riding, calf roping, steer wrestling, saddle bronc riding, bull riding and cutting. Team roping competition will include boys and girls.

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