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Originally published: 2013-09-09 11:25:17
Last modified: 2013-09-09 11:26:01

Youth rodeo to draw young cowboys and cowgirls

In 2010, the High Country Cowboys and Cowgirls was formed in an effort to provide a local place for youths to participate in the sport of rodeo. 

Supported totally by local businesses and individuals, High Country Cowboys and Cowgirls is preparing for its fourth annual Youth Rodeo in Deep Gap on Friday and Saturday, Sept. 13 and 14.   

The sanctioning body of the rodeo is the Junior Southern Rodeo Association. JSRA was established in the late 1950s as the youth division of the Southern Rodeo Association, the oldest rodeo association east of the Mississippi.  

The JSRA offers peewee, junior and senior versions of all the standard rodeo events.  

The association is open to boys and girls up to 18 years of age. The association provides the training ground for up-and-coming rodeo stars. The likes of national and international world champions Jerome Davis, Robert Lloyd, Luke Brown Jr., Boyce Knox and Cory Kidd got their start in the JSRA.

A JSRA Rodeo is much the same as any professional or senior rodeo. Contestants abide by the same rules as the adults do in the senior rodeos. They start off with a salute to America, including the national anthem and a prayer, and then it's cowboys and cowgirls on parade in the grand entry. Next is the rough stock events with the peewee mutton bustin' (4- to 6-year-old cowboys and cowgirls versus 100-pound sheep).  

There are four levels of rough stock riding: sheep, calves, steers and bulls. This prepares the youths to move up to the senior rodeos. There is breakaway calf roping for the younger kids and the girls, and tie-down calf roping for those cowboys 12 years and older.  

The standard cowgirl events of barrel racing, pole bending and goat tying are divided into three groups. 

Team roping is also offered for the cowboys who are handy with a rope. And the rodeo always ends with a session of bull riding. 

The fourth annual High Country Cowboys and Cowgirls Rodeo will kick off at 7:30 p.m. on Sept. 13 and again on Sept. 14 at 6:30 p.m. in the field across from Laurel Springs Baptist Church in Deep Gap.  

Admission is $10 for adults and $5 for children 12 and younger. 

The event features free parking, on-site concessions and family fun.