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Local barrel racer awarded Rookie of the Year scholarship

Posted by: tdt -

By Robin Scott

Channing’s Haley Nelson qualified to compete in barrel racing at the College National Finals Rodeo in Casper Wyoming held June 14-20.  Nelson, a 2008 graduate of Channing High School, attends Levelland’s South Plains College.  She entered the rodeo finals ranked 13th overall.  No points from the school year were carried over to the rodeo finals and each competitor started out on the same footing.

This year’s rodeo marked the 61st Annual CNFR and was the 11th anniversary of the event’s home in Casper.  The rodeo hosts nine events including bareback riding, saddle bronc riding, bull riding, tie-down roping and steer wrestling for men, barrel racing, and goat tying and breakaway roping for women.  Nelson competed as a rookie.  

Each contestant had three preliminary rounds of competition prior to the final round on Saturday night, June 20th.  The 12 contestants with the fasted combined times advanced to the finals.  In the preliminary rounds, Nelson placed first, third and 39th which placed her in the top 12.  College students also competed individually and some as a part of a men or women’s team.  An all-around male and female were crowned as well as team champions.  Many special awards were also presented.

Nelson competed in barrel racing.  She placed 1st in the Go 3, with a score of 14.08.  She placed 3rd in the Go 2 with a score of 14.35.  She took first place in the finals, the Go Short, with a score of 14.15.  Nelson placed 4th overall and the average of her combined points made her the highest scoring rookie.  Nelson received a $500 scholarship for earning Rookie of the Year.   

Nelson commented, “Having the fastest run of the week was probably my best moment.  It was really great.”  Having the fastest run of the week earned Nelson a ring, which is a highly coveted prize in college rodeo.  She also earned prize money for her first place finish in the Go 3 and placing first in the finals.  She plans to continue in barrel racing during the 2009/10 school year.