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  HATS OFF TO TEXAS FFA RODEO FINALIATS
 
By: Jessica Dorgan, Iowa Park FFA
July 11, 2012

 
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Hearts pounding, adrenaline pumping and cowboy hats flying: the FFA Rodeo Finals are where the best of the best compete.

Walking around the San Patricio County Arena just before the 12th Annual Texas FFA Rodeo Finals begin, one may witness some pretty out-of-the-ordinary behaviors from the contestants. For as long as rodeo has existed, cowboys and cowgirls have always shared some odd superstitions. From barrel racers to bull riders, most everyone has their own unique pre-run routines.

“I pray before every single run. It really helps calm my nerves before the big event,” says bull rider Dylan Haralson of Axtell FFA.

In contrast, some contestants get ready in very different ways. It is common to witness a contestant scrambling to privacy, so they can change into a lucky article of clothing.

Austin Patterson of West Texas FFA admits, “I wear the same pair of jeans and boots every time I rodeo.”

Barrel racer Elizabeth Lankford relates, as she explains, “Good things always happen when I wear my lucky clothing. I always just do better!”

To many contestants, the Texas FFA Rodeo is just one short stop in their rodeo careers. Bull rider Austin Patterson explains, “Rodeo is my life. I practice four days a week and compete almost every weekend.”

However, to the more casual contestant, such as Lindsay Knoblock of the Elgin FFA chapter, “The rodeo is known as a great place to meet new people, while demonstrating individual talents.”

Most rodeo contestants are introduced to the sport by family or friends, but the drive that keeps them going seems to come from an entirely different source. When interviewed, almost all of the contestants emphasized the same phrase- “adrenaline rush.”

According to Bull rider Chase Conner, “Even if it only lasts eight seconds, the rush is something I haven’t experienced doing anything else.”

Spectators were greatly impressed as talent from across the entire state was showcased at this year’s Texas Rodeo FFA Finals. The first place average winner from every contest is awarded with a $1,000 scholarship from the Texas FFA.
 










 
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