Team roping qualifiers include: Derek Clifton, Damian Martinez, Byron Oxford, Cody Oxford, Alejandro “Hondo” Flores and Adan Flores of George West High School. Adan Flores (heeder) and Hondo Flores (healer) finished in regionals in eighth place.
The Flores brothers said they just “Live the dream,” then jokingly added, “We ride, rank, make the bank!”
Individuals representing Region VIII include Hondo Flores in bull riding; in tiedown calf roping will be Cody Oxford, Chance Specht (George West) and Kyle Otto (Three Rivers). In girls cutting will be Carly Swain (McMullen) with Amber Rae Henicke (Three Rivers) in goat tying.
Henicke said, “I have enjoyed my past three years competing in THSRA. It is a wonderful experience and it gives me the chance to do what I love to do. This past year I was voted as goat tying event director; it was a great opportunity for me.”
To qualify for state competition, the contestant must earn more points in the region than the other cowboys and cowgirls and finish the year in the top 10 based on points.
Morgan Holder of George West High School also participated this year but did not finish the season because of a horse injury. “Hollywood (my horse) and I started the season out in pole bending and barrel racing, the season was rough, but the Lord is preparing us for next year. I had a great time, met some great people, and look forward to running in THSRA next session,” said Holder.
The high school rodeo season runs from September through the end of February. At the conclusion of the season, the cowgirl and cowboy with the most points in two or more events is named All-Around Cowboy and All-Around Cowgirl.
This year Cody Oxford was named All-Around Cowboy. He was awarded a Tod Slone saddle. The top first-year high school rodeo contestant with the most points in the Region is the Rookie of the Year. This year the honor went to Kyle Otto. He was presented a silver Hy O belt buckle.
As a rookie, Otto said, “I have enjoyed meeting new people during my first year in THSRA. It has been a great experience; I love to rodeo and THSRA allows me to do that. I like to be with other high school kids from Texas that have something in common with me. I can’t wait for the finals in June.”
There were a total of 102 contestants in Region VIII this year.