By Tony Parra: PNT Staff Writer
Myra Skinner said her son, Jesse Clark, has had a rope in his hands ever since he could walk, and maybe that’s why he won the boys All-Around Championship in the New Mexico Junior High Rodeo Finals held Friday and Saturday in Lovington.
The 13-year old eighth-grader from Dora Schools was pleased with his performance during the weekend especially earning a time of 8.69 seconds in the tie-down run.
“It’s one of my best times,” Jesse said. “I did good during the weekend. I’ve been practicing a bunch in the arena at my house.”
Skinner said her son started competing in rodeo events at the age of 3. Jesse credits his mom and his dad, Jerry Skinner, with showing him techniques and giving him advice during practices.
“We work on technique and being mentally prepared to compete,” his mom said. “He loves the sport. He loves to rope. He had an awesome weekend.”
Jesse was also named the boys All-Around Champion for the year by the New Mexico Junior High Rodeo Association. He placed first in the calf roping, first in the ribbon roping, third in the chute dogging, fourth in the goat tying and ninth in the team roping for the year.
He’ll compete in the National Junior High Rodeo competition July 10-15 in Gallup against the country’s top junior high rodeo performers in ribbon roping, calf-roping, chute dogging and goat tying (the four events he finished in the top four). Myra Skinner said the top four finishers in each rodeo state final event qualify for nationals in Gallup.
Jesse said it’s been a challenge to compete in rodeos, go to school, work on schoolwork and play basketball. However, he said with the help of his parents and basketball coaches, Ty Walker and Caleb King, he’s been able to overcome the challenge.
Jesse’s ribbon-roping partner, Katey Anthony of Jal, won the girls All-Around Championship award, according to Myra Skinner. Katey finished first in the goat tying, breakaway roping and ribbon-roping, and second in the pole bending in the state. She will also be competing at the nationals.