October 28, 2020

Local Cowboy, Cowgirl shine at High School Rodeo

Calee Bell Duncan competing on her horse "Peppers Bully" in a Barrel Racing event earlier this season Photo: John Dyer/JD Photography)

Calee Bell Duncan competing on her horse “Peppers Bully” in a Barrel Racing event earlier this season Photo: John Dyer/JD Photography)

(Franklin, GA) — The high school rodeo visited the Heard County Arena in Franklin last weekend for the second of its two stops during the 2015-2016 season.

The event was sanctioned by the Georgia High School Rodeo Association, a state-wide association of high school students, grades nine through 12, who participate in rodeos held throughout the state.

The GHSRA, which is affiliated with the NHSRA which is comprised of 41 States, five Canadian Provinces, and Australia provides a unique opportunity for Georgia youth to participate in one of the most rewarding sports experiences available anywhere.

Many of the young athletes competing in bareback and saddle bronc riding, bull riding, steer wrestling, goat tying, tie-down, breakaway calf roping, barrel racing, pole bending, and team roping are world-class athletes who compete not only in high school rodeos, but in professional and adult amateur rodeos as well.

HHS freshman Hadley Sanders (R) along with his Team Roping Partner Jacob Daniell

HHS freshman Hadley Sanders (R) along with his Team Roping Partner Jacob Daniell

The cowboy or cowgirl and the animals used in rodeo compete against themselves and the clock, as much as they compete against each other.

Two local rodeo riders, HHS freshman Hadley Sanders and junior homeschool junior Calee Bell Duncan competed at last week’s event and both fared well.

Hadley Sanders scored a first place finish in the Steer Wrestling category and another top finish in the Team Roping event along with his freshman partner from Monroe Area High School, Jacob Daniell.

Sanders currently leads the circuit in Steer Wrestling points and along with Daniell is second in standings in Team Roping.

Hadley is second in the All-Around Boy’s standings with 165 points as the season draws towards the state finals. Sanders trails only Zack Cargle who leads the Boy’s standings with 173 points.

Calee Bell Duncan competes in five rodeo events including Goat Tying, Breakaway Roping, Barrel Racing, Team Roping, and Pole Bending.

She scored a second place finish in the Breakaway last weekend as well as earning points in the Goat Tying Event. Calee Bell currently sits in seventh place with 129 points in the All-Around Girl’s Standings with solid scores in several of her events.

Duncan is really looking forward to the state finals in Perry, her favorite place to compete.

The 17-year-old also competed in the Georgia Junior High School Rodeo while attending Heard County Middle School in her early teen years.

The GHSRA next visits Blairsville (April 1-2), Gay (April 15-16), and Ringgold (May 6-7) before the State Finals at the Georgia National Fairgrounds and Agricenter in Perry, GA May 27-29.

One of the most unique aspects of high school rodeo is that the athletes compete on the same stock that is used by college and professional rodeo contestants.

Many of the young athletes you will see competing in bareback and saddle bronc riding, bull riding, steer wrestling, goat tying, tie-down, breakaway calf roping, barrel racing, pole bending, and team roping are world-class athletes who compete not only in high school rodeos, but in professional and adult amateur rodeos as well.

Julia Johnson from Adairsville (L) and Haylee Prince from Covington. The high school rodeo draws contestants from all around the State of Georgia

Julia Johnson from Adairsville (L) and Haylee Prince from Covington at the Arena last week. The GHSRA rodeo draws contestants from all over the state.

The cowboy or cowgirl and the animals used in rodeo compete against themselves and the clock, as much as they compete against each other.

This was one of the first events held at the Heard County Arena since the addition of new horse stalls and RV hook-ups funded by the Heard County Development Authority.

The out-of-town rodeo families were really pleased with the new facilities.

“We are very thankful for these much improved and new facilities — we enjoy coming to Franklin for these events,” said Steve Griffin, father of Cheyenne Griffin, a competitor from Jasper, Georgia.

Some events actually have small cash payoffs and the GHSRA awards several scholarships each year.

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