Bonner recognized as rodeo rookie

By Tony Parra: PNT Staff Writer

The National High School Rodeo Association selected Jake Bonner of Portales as one of the top rookies for his region and he was chosen to the Wrangler High School All-Star Rodeo Team.

According to a press release from the NHSRA, Bonner was appointed to the first-ever corporate-sponsored youth rodeo team.

“I love rodeo and really enjoy it,” Bonner said. “It’s something I’ve always dreamed of doing.”

Bonner is a Portales High School sophomore and plays on the boys’ basketball team. Friday he played on the junior varsity team as they took on the Lake Arthur varsity squad.

Bonner said the NHSRA selected the top two rookies for the Panhandle region and he was one of them. He was picked for the season that stretched from September of 2004 through June of 2005. According to Bonner, high school freshmen competing in their first year of high school competition are the competitors from which the NHSRA members selects the team.

“It hasn’t really sunk in, yet,” Bonner said. Bonner said a break from December to March from rodeo season allows him to play basketball. “When I’m not in rodeo, I’m playing basketball. In between both I have to find time for homework.”

He has been competing in rodeo events since he was 8 years old. Bonner said during the rodeo season, if he qualifies he will compete in the regional finals in Abilene, Texas and if he advances, he will compete in the National High School Rodeo Finals from July 24-30 in Springfield, Ill.

The Wrangler High School All Star Rodeo Team is fashioned after the Wrangler’s Champion Pro Rodeo Team, which includes superstars like Ty Murray, Joe Beaver, Dan Mortensen and Hall-of-Famer Jim Shoulders.

“We are excited to again this year expand Wrangler’s rodeo sponsorship program at the high school level,” Karl Stressman, special events manager for Wrangler Rodeo, said. “As always, it gives us tremendous sense of pride to associate the Wrangler brand with promising young men and women. We’re confident each member of the team will be an outstanding goodwill ambassador for the sport of rodeo.”

The Wrangler High School All-Star Rodeo team members will receive official competition apparel consisting of Wrangler shirts embroidered with the team logo and two pairs of competition jeans. The NHSRA has over 10,000 members and 1,250 sanctioned rodeos in the United States, five Canadian provinces and Australia.