Morgen Pounders and Hayden Roscoe, however, are greenhorns when it comes to performing in front of a crowded house against the best of the best.
All four area athletes will be competing at the 68th Texas High School Finals Rodeo in Abilene which busts out of the chute June 6 and continues until June 14.
The next go-round is the National Finals High School Rodeo in Rock Springs, Wyoming, July 13-19.
Tyson Arledge has made the rodeo finals his home-away-fromhome, making his fourth consecutive appearance at the THSSFR.
While he previously competed in bareback riding and team roping as well, in his final go-round, he concentrated on just calf roping. He has gone to state in the event all four years.
Two years ago, he finished fifth in calf roping, just missing a trip to nationals.
Arledge, 19, won allaround cowboy honors at the state meet in junior high and earned a trip to the National Finals Rodeo.
Arledge, who resides in Milano but was home schooled, was second in the tie down in Region 6 with a score of 74 behind Reid Zapalac of Smithville’s 79.
Arledge had the top score in the region last year.
The solidly built Arledge has his sites set on a professional career, but first he’ll attend Trinity Valley College in Athens on a full rodeo scholarship.
Obviously, Arledge needs to be quick out of the gate to be successful at the finals, but for him it just comes down to the basics.
“I just want three good, smooth runs,” he said. “Just be consistent and good things should happen.”
Arledge’s sister Tera, 16, and a junior-to-be at Milano, will compete in breakaway roping and goat tying at state.
At regionals, Arledge was fifth in breakaway roping, sixth in goat tying and 12th in barrel racing.
She made it to state in all three events last year in her first trip to Abilene.
Arledge feels like her strongest event is breakaway roping,
Unlike her brother, Tera competes in other sports for Milano, including bas- Who— Mor gen Pounders, Rockdale (pole bending); Hayden Rasco, Gause (team roping with Lane Ardoin of Marquez); Tyson Arledge, Milano (calf roping); Tera Arledge, Milano (goat tying, breakaway roping). What— 68th Texas High School Finals Rodeo When—June 6-14. Where—Expo Center, Abilene Next up— National Finals High School Rodeo, July 13-19 in Rock Springs, Wyoming. ketball, softball and track and she feels it keeps her in the shape she needs to be in to rodeo.
“We don’t know how to coach her in those events, because we don’t do them,” says mom Wendy, who does hold the goat for her.
Tera is also excited to be able to ride a new mount at the finals named Flip.
“The horse I rode last year didn’t work out, so I switched to my brother’s horse,” she said. “I’m just more confident on that horse.”
Tera will need that confidence, she’ll be facing a whole slew of veterans at the state finals.
“It’s tough. You know you are going to have to be fast. There is a lot more seniors going this year, so there’ll be a lot more competition.”
She will not however, be intimidated by the competition or the surroundings since she’s been there before.
“I like it loud, it gets me going.”
Better late than never
Morgen Pounders will find out pretty quickly what gets her going in her first journey to the state finals after four years of trying.
Pounders, 19, graduates from Rockdale High School Friday and hits the ground running as she heads for Abilene.
“I’m very excited. I’ve wanted to go since I was a freshman. I don’t know how I would react if I got to go to nationals.”
While she considers barrel racing her strong suite, Pounders qualified in pole bending by finishing fourth in Region 10 behind Samantha Chick of Salado.
She placed 13th in barrel racing.
(Makenlee Worley of Rockdale was 12th in breakaway roping and 18th in barrel racing).
Pounders, who made it to state in the seventh grade in pole bending, plans to put her rodeoing career on hold while she attends Blinn College in College Station and after school, plans to pick it back up.
Part of the team
Gause’s Hayden Rasco found his team roping salvation in church.
Rasco, 15 and a junior to be at Milano High School, met his current roping partner Lane Ardoin at the Franklin Cowboy Church and for the past two years, they have been tearing up arenas all over the state.
Ardoin is from Marquez.
They enter the state finals as the No. 1 team out of Region 9 after collecting 74 points, almost 20 better than their nearest competitors.
Team ropers are notorious for switching partners— until they ride upon the right one.
“Oh yeah, it makes a whole lot of difference when you find someone good,” said Rasco, who has been competing since the sixth grade.
Rasco is the heeler, Ardoin the header.
“We’re ready. We rode in a lot of summer rodeos last year. Won a lot of jackpots. We have a good a chance as anybody.”