BY THATCH ELMER
The smell of a fresh groomed arena is a familiar and beautiful smell come spring time in Utah, practice pens are drying from recent rain and winter snow, horses are shedding their hair, calves are growing day by day and youth rodeos are starting back up.
The opportunity for kids to live their dreams and make their families proud by barrel racing, roping and all the rough stock events are growing in huge numbers all across the country.
New events such as breakaway roping and the newly found popularity in the horseshow world, have opened opportunities by adding upwards of a million dollars. The opportunity for youth to get into the sport of rodeo, the horse industry, make a living for themselves, and build a legacy are absolutely endless when they participate in the Junior National Finals Rodeo and the Junior American Rodeo. It’s not uncommon for a young cowboy or cowgirl to come out and win enough money to participate in rodeo for the rest of their lives.
As a member of the National High School Rodeo Association, I feel somewhat of a responsibility to bring awareness to the youth rodeo of today, to show the world that the West is not dead, cowboys still exist and still thrive in this world and that they aren’t just a picture on a screen or actors in a movie. So, the next time you get the itch to attend a rodeo, make it a High School Rodeo, Jr High Rodeo, or even your local Youth Rodeo Association. The rodeo future will be very bright for the next 20 years, and the kids and rookies are taking over the sport. They are growing the industry by reaching out to the rodeo kids and showing them that they can live their dreams!