Kenna Armitage of Elida qualified for the National Finals College Rodeo beginning on Sunday in Casper, Wyo.
Armitage, a Portales native who graduated from Elida High School in 2003, is a sophomore at New Mexico Highlands in Las Vegas, N.M.
“There are not many teams that start a rodeo program, and then go on to have a national qualifier the first year,” said NMHU Coach Danny Garcia.
Armitage qualified in breakaway roping.
“She will be a tough competitor,” said Garcia. “She can go in there and win the thing.”
Armitage, who is an honor student carrying a 3.7 grade point average, is pursuing a nursing degree.
“This should help the program quite a bit. This program should grow a lot after this year,” said Armitage. “We’re talking about being a national championship team in the next few years.”
Garcia says that he treats his team like a family. “This is a great squad that looks out for each other,” said Garcia.
Armitage has been in the rodeo business since she was four; however, this will be her first time at the college finals.
“I’ve known Coach Garcia for a long time, and I think he’s done a great job. They’ll win a national championship someday,” said Kenna’s mother, Jane Armitage. “In the rodeo world, Danny is known as a competitor, and he instills that (competitiveness) in his team.”
Garcia said that his team puts in a lot of time in the arena. “What’s going to get us ahead is the amount of time that we practice. We have a game plan. A lot of people don’t realize how much time goes into this,” he said.