By Mickey Winfield: PNT Staff Writer
Later this month, more tan 1,500 cowboys and cowgirls from around the country will convene at the world’s largest rodeo — the 60th Annual National High School Finals rodeo, and a Roosevelt County calf roper will be one of them.
Dora High School junior Jesse Clark will be making the trek to Farmington for the rodeo which begins on July 20, and as they say, this ain’t Jesse’s first rodeo.
“I think he’s among the top five ropers in the world at his age group,” Jesse’s horse trainer Sylvester Mayfield said. “He’s an awesome roper. He’s won just about everything a young roper can win.”
Throughout the season, Clark accumulated enough points to make the state finals in Carlsbad and now the National High School Finals . The top four cowboys from every event in competing states earn their ticket to the NHSFR.
Jesse finished the season with the second best calf roping score in New Mexico.
“(I just) practice and practice and practice,” Clark said. “(I get) a little bit (nervous), but once I get out there, it all goes away and the adrenaline kicks in.”
Mayfield doesn’t have any doubt about his friend’s chances.
“I think he’ll win it,” Mayfield said. “He’s been working awfully hard at it.”
In addition to competing in the National High School Finals Rodeo later this month, Clark was selected to the 2007-2008 Wrangler High School All-Star rodeo team, the first corporate sponsored youth rodeo squad. Clark also received a $250 scholarship from the American Quarter Horse Association.
Over $200,000 in prize money will be won, along with over $325,000 in college scholarship money awarded.
“It would be real good if I won it,” Clark said. “It would be huge.”
“He breathes it,” Mayfield said. “That’s just about all he breathes, is rodeo.”