By Lillian Bowe
The face of the High Plains Junior Rodeo Association finals is the contestants steer riding, team roping and barrel racing, but the rodeo would not run smoothly without the volunteers.
One such volunteer has helped out at the rodeo for two years and it is a family affair.
Marty Mathis, a rancher from Amistad, has two sons participating in the rodeo and it is one of the reasons he has volunteered to help out.
On Friday night, Mathis was working the team roping and calf roping event by making sure the calves went into the chute.
Mathis said he helps out because maybe when his kids grow up they will be volunteering with rodeo when his grandchildren will be participating.
“It’s helping the way for the next generation of the sport,” Mathis said.
Mathis’ wife, Erin, has enjoyed watching the rodeo and being out at Clovis.
“I’m having so much fun out here and it’s just a way of life for us,” Erin Mathis said.
Besides Marty Mathis on the floor of the arena there is Stacey Mills, who is on the board of directors of the HPJRA.
Mills, from Carlsbad, has been a part of the HPJRA community for 17 years as two of his daughters have participated in the rodeo.
His daughter, Carson Mills, participated in the barrel racing on
Friday as he watched her from the floor.
The most important part of the rodeo, in Mills’ eyes, is the fellowship.
“We are all family here. Everyone that participates and their families just come together and have fun. The fellowship between us is the most important,” Mills said.
Another volunteer on the floor of the arena, Wes Reno from Las Cruces, said rodeo competitors come from many places around New Mexico and Texas.
“It’s great to see all these kids from all over,” Reno said.
Reno, like Mathis, helps out with the calf roping by being on the floor and making sure the calves enter the shoot.
Reno’s children are in the finals and he said he loves to see how far they have come.
“Working down here, you see how much the kids improved from the other rodeos. You see them succeed and become better at this sport. That is the most rewarding,” Reno said.