Five Langley rodeo competitors will be going head to head with rodeo champions from around the world at the National High School Finals Rodeo in Wyoming from July 15-21.
The group, made up of Taylor Wharry, 17, Logan Wharry, 18, Brooke McFarlin, 18, Jessie Morriss, 17, and Thomas VanDokkumburg, 17, have worked their entire lives to make it to this elite level.
The National Finals is one of the largest rodeos in the world, and qualifying is a huge accomplishment, said Donna Morriss, mother of Jessie Morriss.
“This is it,” she said. “The finals are a big deal.”
In order to make it to this stage, the teens had to be in the top 12 in the south (or north) region of the British Columbia High School Rodeo Association to make it to the B.C. finals, then in the top five of the B.C. finals to make it to the Canadian finals, and finally in the top four at Canadian finals to make it to the Nationals in the United States, Morriss said.
In Wyoming they will compete against 1,500 contestants from across Canada, the United States and Australia.
With many prizes up for grabs, including horse trailers and saddles, what the teens really vie for are the rodeo titles and scholarships.
“What they are going for more than anything is to get the title,” Morriss said. “But the kids also want to be spotted by scouts.”
Taylor Wharry is competing in team roping with her brother Logan, who is also in steer wrestling and tie down roping. Jessie Morriss is competing in breakaway roping, goat tying, rifle shoot and trap shoot. McFarlin is going for the title in street wrestling, tie down roping, rifle shoot and trap shoot, and VanDokkumburg is contending in rifle shoot and trap shoot.
Submitted photo: Brooke McFarlin steer wrestling