Little Wranglers keeps Portales youth busy

By Clarence Plank: PNT staff writer

The Little Wranglers Junior Association gives children a chance to compete in rodeo style events for fun.

Little Wranglers was created 42 years ago for children 6-18 years old from Roosevelt County.

Josett Evans said it is a good activity for her daughter.

“The beginning, it was so she could go out there and have fun because she didn’t have a horse,” Evans said. “Now, that she has gotten older, I guess you can say I’ve changed and I want her to compete now. She still does it for fun.”

Jessie Evans, 15, has been competing five years and got started when a friend urged her to join Little Wranglers. Evans specializes in barrels, poles and break-away.

“I practiced a lot during the summer,” Evans said.

Recently, Jessie’s horse, Shadow, was injured, forcing her to find another horse to compete next year.

Competition starts the weekend after school ends for the summer and continues eight weeks. The schedule includes nine rodeos.

Contestants compete in goat tying, barrels, poles, flag race for the younger children and all the roping events.

“A lot of them go ahead and do high school rodeos,” said Little Wranglers President Rustin Rawley said. “For a lot of them participating in the Little Wranglers is all they want to do and they are happy with that.”

Rawley said Little Wranglers is a place where children can learn.

“It is the best deal in the world for the children,” Rawley said. “It really is. Tell you what for the city’s sake, we have 102 contestants out there on a Saturday night that we’re monitoring. That means the city doesn’t have to keep an eye on them so, we’re doing a great service.”

Last year, Roosevelt County waived fees, enabling use of Mounted Patrol Arena at no charge to Little Wranglers.

Little Wranglers contestants — boys and girls — compete for belt buckles and saddles donated by sponsors.