By Rae Arnett
Mark Banda, Bailey Barnes and Casey Faver may vary in age, but they all have one thing in common; a love for rodeo.
These three members of Little Wranglers, a non-profit youth rodeo organization for students who attend school in Roosevelt County, were watching and competing Tuesday evening at the Roosevelt County Fairgrounds.
Faver, 16, competes in all the calf roping events put on by Little Wranglers. Faver plans to continue rodeo after high school.
“I’ve done Little Wranglers ever since I was little. It’s fun,” said Faver.
Banda, 12, has high aspirations and hopes to go to the National Finals Rodeo someday. He will be attending school in Dora next year and has been in Little Wranglers for four years.
“I kinda get bored during the summer when I’m not doing baseball and it’s really fun,” explained Banda on why he joined Little Wranglers. “My cousin got me into it.”
Bailey and Brycen Barnes are 5-year-old twins competing in at least four events this summer.
“We do barrels, poles, flags, goat touch, and when we’re 6, we’re going to do goat tying” said Bailey Barnes. Brycen Barnes normally ropes but his horse had an injured foot so he sat out Tuesday.
Little Wranglers has been around for almost 50 years, but has only been at the Roosevelt County Fairgrounds for four years.
Wendell Best and David Stone were among the founding members.
Larry Powell is a Little Wrangler’s Board Member, which is comprised of seven people elected by the parents involved in the organization.
Every student involved in Little Wrangler’s receives a prize, which are mostly donated by local businesses, at the end-of-the-year banquet in August.
“The community is the biggest supporter. We always want to thank everyone who donates because they really make this possible” Powell said.
Little Wrangler’s season runs from the beginning of June to the end of July.
Clayton Smith, 15, has been a member of Little Wrangler’s for two years. When asked why Smith became a member, his mother, Jaquita Smith said, “he’s been riding since he started walking.”
Smith also believes rodeo is a good activity for the students who love riding because “it is their sport.”