By Clarence Plank: PNT staff writer
It is down to the final four of the National High School Rodeo Finals in Farmington. The week-long event pits New Mexico’s best against the top rodeo performers in the U.S., Canada and Australia.
Jesse Clark of Dora returns to the nationals, with his roping partner Trent Bilberry of Elida. Joining them in competition are Pacen Marez, Rawley Stallard and Christian Pettigrew, all from Fort Sumner.
Clark said he was pulling for Bilberry to make the nationals because it is his senior year.
“I’m glad he made it, being his senior year,” Clark said about Bilberry. “He hadn’t made the nationals before and I wanted to see him go.”
Last year Clark won the short round, but finished sixth in average and overall. Clark said it has been fun competing all year. Clark has been competing in different rodeos since June’s New Mexico high school finals.
Bilberry said he is very excited about making it to the nationals.
“It is quite an honor,” Bilberry said. “This is something I have been waiting for.”
Bilberry and Clark are currently out in Oklahoma competing in a rodeo. In the state finals Clark finished in first, Marez was second, Stallard was third and Bilberry fourth in calf roping. Pettigrew finished first in steer wrestling for the year.
The nationals run through July 25. Rodeo participants begin registering Thurday. The rodeo starts with the queen contest on Friday, with the first round 7 p.m. Sunday.
Local competitors in the National High School Finals Rodeo:
Jesse Clark, Dora.
Pacen Marez, Fort Sumner.
Rawley Stallard, Fort Sumner.
Trent Bilberry of Elida.
Pacen Marez, Fort Sumner; Gralyn Elkins, McIntosh.
Christian Pettigrew, Fort Sumner.