OKEECHOBEE — Carson Davis, Kaelin Hegarty, and Klane Lewis will travel to Huron, S.D., to compete in the 2019 National Junior High Finals Rodeo, June 23 through June 29. Ryan Albers, Brighton Bauman, Clayton Culligan and Lacey Nail are headed to the National High School Finals Rodeo in Rock Springs, Wyo., July 14 through 20.
The National High School Rodeo Association (NHSRA) has grown to an international nonprofit organization since its inception in 1949. The NHSRA has an annual membership of 12,500 students from 43 states, five Canadian provinces, Australia and Mexico. Created in 2004, the NHSRA Junior High Division was established to bring the excitement of the sport to sixth, seventh and eighth graders and to serve as a feeder system into the high school ranks of the association. Today, all 48 states and provinces that belong to the NHSRA also produce a Junior High Division as well, with over 2,500 members in total now competing. Each summer, the “best of the best” from each state and province qualify for the National High School and National Junior High Finals Rodeo. The top four contestants in each event represent their state, province, or country to display their talents and compete for thousands of dollars in scholarships and prizes.
Carson Davis is an 11-year-old sixth grader at Rock Solid Christian Academy. Carson competes in the breakaway, team roping, goat tying and ribbon roping events. He qualified for the National Junior High Finals in breakaway, team roping and goat tying. Kaelin Hegarty is also an 11-year-old sixth grade student, attending Osceola Middle School. Kaelin competes in the barrel racing, pole bending, goat tying, and breakaway calf roping. She qualified for the National Junior High Finals in the goat tying. Klane Lewis rounds out the group of Okeechobee Middle Schoolers headed to South Dakota. Klane is a 13-year-old seventh grader who will represent Florida in the junior bull riding event.
At the high school level, Ryan Albers, an 18-year-old senior, is set to graduate from Florida Virtual School with honors. Ryan will travel to the National High School Finals to compete in the bull riding. Brighton Bauman, a 17-year-old student at Okeechobee High School will return to Wyoming to defend her 2018 National Breakaway Champion title. Brighton competes in the breakaway calf roping and team roping. She qualified for nationals in the breakaway, after being crowned the Florida High School Rodeo Association 2019 Breakaway Champion. Clayton Culligan, a 16-year-old sophomore who attends Alpha Omega, competes in the steer wrestling, tie down and team roping at the state level. He qualified for the National High School Finals Rodeo in the steer wrestling. Lacey Nail, a 15-year-old freshman who attends the Okeechobee Freshman Campus, is the 2019 Florida High School Rodeo Association Rookie Cowgirl and Reserve All Around Cowgirl. Lacey competes in barrel racing, team roping, breakaway calf roping and goat tying. The freshman is on her way to Rock Springs, Wyo., in the barrel racing and team roping.
The local community has demonstrated so much support for this talented group of young men and women, contributing to fundraising efforts and overall backing of all aspects of the sport. These spectacular seven students are wished the best of luck and safe travels this summer!