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Have you ever attended a High School or Junior Rodeo? If not, youíre in for a real treat.

Youíll see American boys and girls carrying on the traditions of the old West. They proudly wear Leviís, western-style shirts and boots and cowboy hats. Their horse is their best friend, at least, a large part of the time. They really donít have time to get into trouble and their drug of choice is improving their roping and riding skills.

Jr. Rodeo welcomes all kids in junior high schools and High School Rodeo is for young people of that age. Each state has divisions according to localities and ours in California is District 7. The young riders tell us that there is great camaraderie and lasting friendships are formed. Good sportsmanship, honesty and hard work are fully understood and experienced. Our Santa Ynez Valley Equestrian Center holds some of the events and the next one will be there on Sept. 30. Centerís location is at corner of Refugio and Mesa Verde, near the river. Visitors are welcome.

The second part of this bonanza is that parents take part and volunteer to help in various ways. This in turn unites the family in enjoyable, healthy activities. The events take place most of the year and riders compete to be included to go to state finals, then the top winners in state go on to national finals. There are winners in each category such as bare-back riding, cutting, pole bending, and so forth. State finals occur in late June and Nationals in July. This year, the National finals for Jr. Rodeo took place in Gallup, N.M. The National High School finals took place in Rock Springs, Wyo. Young people from all over America take part in these competitions and come away with new friendships.

Listed below are all the qualifiers for the national finals from our District 7.

Wacey Barrington, chute dogging,-King City. Cayden Cox, team roping (header) - Arroyo Grande. Tate Fosberg, goat tying, tie-down roping, team roping (heeler) - Fillmore. Kassidy Hamer, girlís breakaway roping - Los Olivos. Kelly Knouse, goat tying - Ventura. Makenna Kramer, girlís breakaway, team roping (header) - Santa Paula. Chance Machado, team roping (heeler) - Orcutt. Sadie Levine, pole bending - Solvang. Zack Varian, boys goat tying - Parkfield.

Qualifiers for National High School finals in Rock Springs, Wyo.

Hayley Hamer, cutting - Los Olivos. Jacob Lees, bareback riding - Arroyo Grande, Taylor Santos-Karney, cutting, tie down roping-Templeton. Mattie Work, goat tying - Paso Robles.

Tate Fosberg was named Junior High State Reserve All Around Cowboy.

Ali Bilkeyís horse Sonny was named California Horse of the Year by the American Quarter Horse Association.