Editors note: This is the first in a four-part series on the Portales Area Rodeo team representatives in July’s National High School Finals Rodeo in Farmington.
Rodeo coach Bobby Grimes said one of Lynde Orcutt’s best qualities is her selflessness on the basketball court and in the rodeo circuit.
“She doesn’t get mad if her own teammates do better,” Grimes said. “She congratulates them, and people like that.”
So when the Elida High School graduate talks about her improvement in the 2002-03 rodeo season, it’s no surprise she gives credit to her teammates that cannot speak for themselves.
“That’s what I was shooting for last year,” Orcutt said of her attempt to be the state’s top all-around cowgirl, “but this year my young horses did a little better.”
Orcutt finished second in New Mexico all-around standings, but ended as the state breakaway roping champion and reserve champion goat tyer at the state finals in Gallup June 4-8.
As a result, Orcutt is one of four Portales Area Rodeo team members heading on to the National High School Finals Rodeo, scheduled July 21-27 at McGee Park in Farmington. The rodeo includes competitors from 39 states, four Canadian provinces and Australia.
The Portales Area Rodeo team is not affiliated with any local high school, but is instead a collection of rodeoers from across the Portales area.
Orcutt is making her second trip to the NHSFR, where she will compete in both breakaway roping and goat tying. Orcutt said the rodeo, which features more than 1,500 competitors every year, is “a blast” and not at all intimidating.
Grimes said Orcutt’s best event is breakaway roping, because she’s consistent and she takes every step necessary to make sure her animals are as well.
“She’s trained her own horses and she practices all the time … all the time,” Grimes said. “We’re waiting for the finals, she’s still practicing every day. She tends to her horses good. She keeps them in shape, keeps herself in shape.”
This will be Orcutt’s last time competing as a high-schooler, but she doesn’t have to leave her teammates just yet. Teammates Brittany Bennett and Kenna Armitage, like Orcutt, have already committed to compete as part of the Eastern New Mexico University rodeo team next season.
Besides staying close to home, Orcutt said staying with her teammates just made sense.
“My teammates are good too,” said Orcutt, “and they push me, make me better.”