Ready to rodeo

By Clarence Plank

The Little Wranglers Rodeo kicks off its 44th season Saturday at the Roosevelt County Mounted Patrol Arena near Portales.

Jessie Evans, 16, of Portales, is in her fifth year competing with the Little Wranglers. She is looking forward to getting back into the swing of things with her new horse Brandy.

“This will be my first year with Brandy,” Evans said. “We did a play day in Clovis and she did really good there. I’m looking forward to Little Wranglers.”

Evans had to retire her other horse Shadow. Because of an injured muscle suffered in the middle of the season last year.

Little Wranglers is for boys and girls ages 6 to 18. They compete in a variety of events such as, barrel racing, poles, flag racing, roping, goat tying, goat pulling and calf scramble for team or individual points.

Age groups are from 6-9, 10-12, 13-15 and 16-18.

Little Wranglers board member Renee Johnson said sign-ups begin 4 p.m. Saturday. The rodeo competition follows at 5:30 p.m.

“Little Wranglers is simple because it is a building block if they want to go to 4-H rodeo or High Plains Rodeo or step into junior high rodeo,” Johnson said. “It is a good starting point for the kids that have never done this before because it is a good place for them to learn and get that experience so they can go on to that next level.”

Johnson said participants must wear a long-sleeve, button up collared shirt, blue jeans and boots. Belts and hats are optional.

Every Saturday there is a rodeo leading up to the end of July and then on Aug. 6 through Aug. 7 in the Buckle Rodeo, said Johnson.

Overall winners for the season by age group — boys and girls — each receive a saddle.

Tuesdays are practice days each week at the Mounted Patrol Arena.

“If they want to run barrels, we’ll put the barrels up for them or run the pole and then we’ll turn around and rope for practice,” said Johnson.