Carson Mills had a bit of a rough time in Thursday’s first go of the High Plains Rodeo Association rodeo at Curry County Events Center.
Competing in the girls 10-12 division, the sixth-grader-to-be at Carlsbad mistimed her attempt with her lasso in calf roping and got thrown from her horse. She was a bit bruised, but unbowed.
“I’m sure I’ll be a little sore tomorrow,” she said.
Mills, who turned 11 last month, is in contention for the HPJRA’s rookie of the year award and the pole saddle, awarded for the top finisher for the year in pole bending, in her age group. The 14-rodeo HPJRA season begins in March and ends with this event.
She competes in barrel racing, pole bending, calf breakaway roping, steer breakaway roping and goat tying.
Thursday’s rough outing should motivate her in today’s second go, Mills said. The short go (championship round) will wrap up the week’s events on Saturday.
“I haven’t done as well today as I’d hoped,” she said. “It’s tough, especially when you’re at the bottom of the age group. I’m the youngest one.”
She comes from a rodeo family. Her mother, Tia, rodeoed in the past after her father and grandfather were involved in the sport. Carson’s older brother and sister have also rodeoed.
They live on a ranch between Carlsbad and Jal.
“She’s been going since she was 4,” said Tia Mills. “It’s become a year-round deal for us. It used to be a summer thing, but these kids work so hard and they’re able to go all year long.”
Carson Mills said she’ll be involved in junior high rodeoing when school starts. She plans on continuing to rodeo for a while.
“I’ve always enjoyed it,” she said. “I probably won’t make a career out of it, but I’ll probably do it as long as I can.”