The finals for the North Texas High School Rodeo Association (NTHSRA) were held May 16-18 at the Will Rogers Coliseum in Fort Worth. Six members of the Northwest High School Rodeo Team competed in the finals, and four of the six earned at least one buckle.
“We have one of the bigger teams with 20 kids and we had a really good season this year,” said sponsor Wendi Butler. “We had between 10 and 13 kids who were riding members and competed every weekend. For half of them to make it to finals, and for three of those to make it in multiple events, is really a big deal.”
Junior Brooke Butler is queen and president of the team. She is also on the Student Board of Directors for the NTHSRA. This was her third year on the rodeo team, and at finals she competed in breakaway roping and pole bending. She ended the year in seventh place in breakaway and 15th in pole bending.
First-year rodeo team member and team king Trinton Barfield competed in steer wrestling and chute dogging. The junior ended the year in sixth place in steer wrestling and earned ninth place in chute dogging.
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“Trinton ended up with three buckles at finals,” said Wendi Butler. “In one of the events, steer wrestling, he had just started competing in the event more than halfway through the year and still made it to finals and got a buckle.”
Alexis Barfield is a sophomore and has been a member of the team for one year more than her brother, Trinton. She competed in barrel racing and pole bending at the finals. She placed third in pole bending and fourth in the 2D barrel race.
Junior Destiny Oliver is the secretary and princess of the team. She competed at finals in barrel racing and steer undecorating. She ended the year with 15th place in steer undecorating and earned first place in the 5D barrel race.
Tyler Norton competed in chute dogging and ended the year in second place. The junior has been on the team for two years.
“The kids who place in the top 10 at each rodeo have their scores go toward the team overall score for each weekend,” said Wendi Butler. “The top finisher for the year in each event wins a saddle.”
Preston Clark competed in chute dogging at the finals. A junior, Clark is the team vice president and prince. He earned a first place title and claimed the coveted saddle.
Members of the rodeo team must provide their own horses, transportation and practice locations. A normal season will contain 26-27 rodeos, though winter weather cut this season down to 24, and lasts the entire school year with only a month off for winter break.
This year’s Northwest team had a longer road to the finals after graduating a large number of seniors last year.
“It is a huge accomplishment and honor to make it to the finals, and all of these kids have worked hard this year to make it there,” Wendi Butler said.
The team’s success at the finals is no reason to start taking it easy. Wendi Butler said she is expecting all of the returning team members to keep working over the summer.
“There are some rodeos they can do over the summer. They have to keep it up and have to continue to ride their horses several times a week. They can’t stop,” she said. “They are all good kids who are dedicated to the rodeo team, and I am very proud to be their sponsor.”