NACOGDOCHES, TX (KTRE) - Ten year-old Charley Merriwhether and her loyal horse Sonya have been all over but the stage she is getting ready for is none like she has been on before.
Merriwhether is one of many kids from around the country that qualified for the Junior National Finals Rodeo in Las Vegas.
“It is really fun,” Merriwhether said. “Sometimes my friends don’t really know what I do. One of my friends brought me some clothes and boots to use. She gave me some white boots. I can’t really wear those when I do my rodeo stuff.”
Merriwhether will be competing in the barrel racing event. While she is looking forward to running in the 14 second range, she is even more excited for the bright lights of Vegas.
“It is going to be fun,” Merriwhether said. “You can do this giant zip-line and then go to the real NFR and see a bunch of people. I also want to go shopping. I like to shop.”
It might be Merriwhether’s first time in Vegas but others will be going back that have been there before. Kash Martin, 14 from Central, will be heading back to compete in the bareback competition.
“I’m not really nervous,” Martin said. “I’ve been here before. i just have to go out and practice and work hard to get better.”
Martin recently competed at the National Junior High finals in the summer. In that rodeo, Martin rode bareback on a steer. This time around he is riding on a horse.
“The competiton will be a little tougher this time,” Martin said. “The horses will be different and I think we have more people competing this year.”
Win or loose, the two East Texas riders are hoping they can use this to springboard them to the next level.
A full schedule of the events can be found here.