High school rodeo boosting students in college, future careers

Published: Sep. 10, 2022 at 6:15 PM CDT
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LUBBOCK, Texas (KCBD) - The Texas High School Rodeo Association’s region two rodeo was in Levelland Saturday and Sunday.

Competitors say participating in this rodeo can give them a big boost for the future.

“We have region rodeos all over West Texas,” competitor Cole Watkins said. “We had one two weeks ago in Sweetwater and then we’ll come up here to Levelland. We just go all over West Texas and rodeo.”

Watkins is a team roper on the heel side. He’s been roping for as long as he can remember.

“I’ve always roped, but in eighth grade I started high school rodeoing,” Watkins said.

He’s not the only one. Many who compete started young. Bull rider Caiden Martinez, he had friends in rodeo, but after an injury, this is his first time on the back of a bull in a while.

“It’s just like, comfortable being back,” Martinez said. “It was just weird not doing it and seeing everyone else do it and me not being out there.”

Martinez says he enjoyed watching all of his friends win, but he’s ready to be back out there winning alongside them.

These students compete for fun, but what they do in the arena could help them pay for college.

“You can get a bunch of different scholarships and stuff through rodeo, and that will help get you through college,” Watkins said.

Watkins says there is a bunch of different levels of scholarships depending on if the competitor qualifies for a region or state.

Some cowboys and cowgirls can get scholarships from rodeo teams at colleges.

“All the college guys, all the coaches will come out and look and recruit,” competitor Cayden McFadden said.

The skills they learn from rodeo can be a big help to competitors who go into agriculture.

“Just taking care of your animals, learning how to treat them, and stuff like that, and learning how to interact with people just main of all,” Watkins said.

While they are still in high school, rodeo keeps them motivated. Martinez told his mom he would keep his grades up to bull ride just like he did for other sports.

“You have to have good grades to compete, so that kind of made my mom, she was kind of mad that I stopped playing because she wanted me to, but I said either way this helps keep my grades or else I can’t come and hang out with everyone else,” Martinez said.

Watkins says this organization is the best way to get involved for any student interested in rodeo. For more information on the Texas High School Rodeo Association, click here.