Rodeo is similar to track and field. Both sports feature an array of individual competitions.
Rodeo features mostly individualistic events, such as bareback riding and break-away roping. Similarly, a track and field meet features numerous individual competitions, such as the shot put and the 100 meters.
It is the opportunity to compete in individual events that attracts senior Morghanne Winkler to the high school rodeo circuit.
“In other sports, I had to depend on teammates, and if we messed up and lost, it was the whole team’s fault,” she said. “I’m very competitive and independent, and if I mess up, it’s only my fault and not everyone else’s fault. In rodeo, I don’t have to depend on anyone. It’s just me and my horse.”
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Winkler, a senior from Burleson who is home-schooled through North Hills Private School system, will enter this weekend’s North Texas High School Rodeo Association Finals as the heavy favorite to clinch the 2013-14 girls’ all-around title.
The NTHSRA’s Finals are 7 p.m. Friday, 6 p.m. Saturday and 1 p.m. Sunday at Will Rogers Memorial Coliseum.
Winkler, 18, will enter the championships ranked No. 1 in the girls’ all-around race with 4,727 points, 437 ahead of Madisen Goforth, who snared the all-around title last year. Winkler also is ranked No. 1 in the ride-up goat tying and the walk-up goat tying title races.
Though Winkler readily takes to the individualism in rodeo, she also helped North Hills Private School clinch the NTHSRA’s annual team title. Unlike the all-around and single event title races, which are based on points earned during the regular season and throughout the NTHSRA Finals, the association’s team title is based on points earned during the regular season.
North Hills, which is a home-schooling program that’s based in Millsap, finished No. 1 after earning 11,750.5 points. Decatur High School finished second with 6,702.
During the weekend, the Professional Bull Riders’ tour stopped in Las Vegas for the Last Cowboy Standing, and the winner received $100,000 at the Mandalay Bay Events Center.
A field of 50 credentialed bull riders competed, and each rider had to make the buzzer in a round in order to advance to the next one. The winner was the last cowboy who continued to advance throughout a series of eliminations.
Guilherme Marchi, the 2008 PBR world champion, clinched the title and earned the coveted $100,000 check, which pushed his regular season earnings to $249,718. Marchi is ranked No. 1 in the PBR’s Built Ford Tough Series world standings with 7,235points. Fabiano Vieira, who resides in Decatur, is ranked No. 2 with 6,658.
The traditional Windy Ryon Memorial Roping is just around the corner. It is scheduled for May 23-25 at the Windy Ryon Arena in north Fort Worth.
The May 24 tie-down roping match will feature former Wrangler National Finals Rodeo qualifiers Justin Maass and Clint Cooper, who is from Decatur.
Tickets to the daily performances are $10. For more information, visit windyryon.org.