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Focus, hard work help Alvarado junior clinch girls high school rodeo title

Hadley Miller, in action at the North Texas High School Association kickoff rodeo in August, won the all-around title Sunday in the NTHSRA finals for the second consecutive year. He also claimed single event titles in tie-down roping and bull riding.
Hadley Miller, in action at the North Texas High School Association kickoff rodeo in August, won the all-around title Sunday in the NTHSRA finals for the second consecutive year. He also claimed single event titles in tie-down roping and bull riding. Star-Telegram archives

For the past two years, Brittne Thomas has clinched the North Texas High School Rodeo Association’s girls’ all-around title.

That means the Alvarado junior earned the most points in multiple events throughout the regular season and the 2018 NTHSRA Finals, which concluded its three-day run Sunday at the Alvarado-based Shepard’s Valley Cowboy Church Arena.

Thomas, 17, also snared NTHSRA 2017-2018 single event titles in steer undecorating, walk-up goat tying and ride-up goat tying.

In the boys all-around race, Hadley Miller, a Boyd junior, clinched the title for the second consecutive year. He also claimed single event titles in tie-down roping and bull riding.

Though Thomas’ parents were not rodeo competitors, Thomas said she’s ridden horses since she was very small.

However, she had two uncles who competed in rodeos and other family members who made sure she received the support she needed. But it’s Thomas’ work ethic that’s made her a competitor to be reckoned with.

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“It takes a lot of practice and trying to not overthink anything,” Thomas said. “When you’re overthinking, you make a lot of mistakes. So, you need to go out and do your thing. It’s all memory. You do it in the practice pen all of the time.”

Thomas’ father, David, said his daughter excels because she’s intensely focused. “She’s determined and puts in a lot of practice and enjoys doing it,” he said.

Thomas mother, Tanya, said she thrives on a great work ethic.

“I haul her to practice and I see the determination,” Tanya Thomas said. “I know the work that she puts in. I know the heart she has.”

Thomas showed lots of determination during midseason when she sustained a hairline stress fracture in her left tibia. However, she continued to compete, which was challenging, especially in ride-up goat tying, which requires a rider to dismount from a horse that’s just aggressively galloped into the arena. Then, the rider must move aggressively toward the goat and subdue it.

“I just tried not to think about it,” Brittne Thomas said. “I just worried about my run. But afterward, I’d go ice it and take Ibuprofen.”

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In addition to competing in rodeos, Thomas also plays volleyball. She’s been a member of the varsity the past two years.

Thomas said playing volleyball helps her stay in great physical condition, which in turn helps her become a more competitive rodeo athlete.

“It definitely helps me keep in shape,” she said. “In volleyball, we run a lot. Throwing my rope and flanking goats keeps me active.”

Thomas said she relishes the friendships she makes at rodeos.

“I like having the friends there - they cheer you on,” she said. “I also like how I cheer everyone else on. My cousins and I compete against each other. It’s not butting heads. We actually cheer each other on.”

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