Local Rodeo Contestants Qualify for National Finals

Fresno, Calif., (August 17, 2017) – Several students from throughout the San Joaquin Valley recently competed at the 69th National High School Finals Rodeo (NHSFR) in Gillette, Wyoming, from July 16 to 22.

Local competitors included Reed Neely, Andee Poole, Chance Strong and CJ Whitney.  These individuals represented District 6 of the California High School Rodeo Association (CHSRA), which encompasses Kern through Madera counties.  The organization offers 13 events that freshman through senior students may compete in.

Andee Poole

To qualify for the NHSFR, contestants were first required to compete at the state level.  To make it to the California High School Finals Rodeo (CHSFR), students had to be ranked in the top five in their district for their respective event.  At the state finals, the top four contestants in each event qualify to go on to compete at the NHSFR.

In Wyoming, contestants competed against opponents from throughout the United States, Canada and Australia.  Each state or providence is entitled to send up to four competitors in an event.  This year, more than 1,600 participated.  The NHSFR has become known as the “World’s Largest Rodeo.” The California team placed second overall, behind Texas.

Reed Neely (18 years old), of Clovis, is a student at Clovis East High School.  He competed in the saddle bronc, placing fourth overall.  Reed followed in the footsteps of his father, Jeff.  His mother, Debbie, also has a history in rodeo.  Reed is involved with FFA and ranches with his dad.

Reed Neely

Chance Strong (17 years old), of Hanford, is a student at Kings Valley Academy. He competed in bull riding. He began riding sheep at the age of four when his dad got him started in the sport. Outside of competing, Chance spends his time ranching with his stepdad.

CJ Whitney (17 years old), of Visalia, attends Visalia Independent Charter and qualified for the reined cow horse event. CJ got interested in rodeoing through her grandpa. She spends her free time training service dogs.

The National High School Rodeo Association has a strong emphasis on academics.  The organization also promotes western heritage, invests in the future of rodeo athletes, teaches leadership, promotes education and encourages family values.

Sponsorships play a large role in the success of the organization’s athletes.  Contestants receive support through awards and scholarships.  To become a sponsor of the California High School Rodeo Association, contact 209-847-6819 or chsrarodeo@gmail.com.

To learn more, visit www.chrsa.com.

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