An Elkins High School student will compete next week in a national rodeo competition in Wyoming.
Abby Jones from Mabie, a 10th grader, earned a position on the West Virginia National High School rodeo team. She will be traveling with fellow teammates to Rock Springs, Wyo., July 14-20 to compete at the 65th annual National High School Finals Rodeo in the barrel racing competition.
Jones, the daughter of Chip and Shannon Jones, has been riding since she was 6 years old, when she received an Arabian pony.
The Inter-Mountain photo by Chad Clem
Abby Jones and her horse, Libby, prepare for a national rodeo competition.
Abby is now preparing for the barrel racing event in the hope of possibly winning a college scholarship.
"It's a lot harder than it looks," Abby said. "I'm doing what I love and preparing for college at the same time."
Libby, or as she is better known by her competition name, Pistol Over the Bar, is Jones' 4-year-old American Quarter Horse and her companion and teammate in the NHSFR barrel racing competition.
Abby's interest in the sport seems to be in her blood. Jones said that her mother had horses when she was young and helped orient Abby to horse culture.
When asked about how she was preparing for the competition and the 28-hour drive to the event, Abby said she and her family were going to take it slow to make sure the horses are as comfortable as possible for the long haul. They will be stopping at campgrounds and farms every few hours to allow the horses an opportunity to stretch.
Abby and her family left for Virginia Monday to meet some friends and other contestants for some training before making the rest of the journey to the competition.
"We're a pretty tight-knit group," Abby said with a smile. "It's a very family oriented community. This competition keeps us focused and out of trouble."
Featuring more than 1,500 contestants from 41 states, five Canadian Provinces and Australia, the NHSFR is the world's largest rodeo. In addition to competing for more than $200,000 in prizes, NHSFR contestants will also be competing for more than $350,000 in college scholarships and the chance to be named an NHSFR national champion. To earn this title, contestants must finish in the top 20 based on their combined times/scores in the first two rounds - to advance to Saturday evening's final round. National champions will then be determined based on their three-round combined times/scores.
Again, this year, the Saturday championship performance will be televised nationally as a part of the Cinch Town Tour telecast series on RFD-TV. Live broadcasts of each NHSFR performance will also air online at NHSFRATV.com, powered by iHigh.com. Performance times are 7 p.m. on July 14, and 9 a.m. and 7 p.m. each day thereafter.
Along with great rodeo competition and the chance to meet new friends from around the world, NHSFR contestants have the opportunity to enjoy shooting sports, volleyball, contestant dances, family-oriented activities, church services sponsored by the Fellowship of Christian Cowboys and shopping at the NHSFR tradeshow.
To follow your local favorites at the NHSFR, visit NHSFR.org daily for complete results. For ticket information, call 307-352-6789.