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High school state rodeo finals underway in Carthage, MO - KOAM TV 7

High school state rodeo finals underway in Carthage, MO

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CARTHAGE, MISSOURI - High school rodeo contestants across Missouri have made their way to Carthage, MO for this year's state rodeo finals.

For many, it's an event that holds special meaning.

Paul Becker, student president of the Missouri High School Rodeo Association, traveled 150 miles to Carthage for the competition he has been training for rigorously.

"At this rodeo, there's a lot more pressure because it's the last leg of the year," he said.

Rodeo runs in the Becker family, which helped earn Paul's older brother a full-ride college scholarship.

"The better you do here, the better opportunities you have through college, to get into college rodeo," said Kyle Becker, brother.

However, making it to the collegiate level comes at a cost, requiring a lot of money and a lot of time.

"Every day, twice a day, you're taking care of your animals, feeding them in the barn," said Terry Becker, father. "Then the practice, we've got to practice as many times during the week as we can. It's been a lifelong commitment to have these kids grow up in this environment."

Out of the 84 contestants participating in the finals, the top four of each event will advance to nationals.

"I went to nationals last year, and it was incredible," said Jessy Maddux, rodeo queen. "I loved it. It was the best experience I could have hoped for."

And for those living in southwest Missouri, having state finals close to home serves as an advantage.

"It's really nice to have it in Carthage since it's our home arena," said Kaitlyn Adams, resident of Jasper, MO.

Nationals or not, contestants say competing in the finals is an experience like no other.

"I try to think through everything before we run in the gate because once we're through the gate, there's no thinking," Maddux said. "It's all adrenaline."

"Clear your mind, and rope," Paul Becker said.

The rodeo events continue tomorrow beginning at 6:00 p.m. at the Lucky J Steakhouse & Arena in Carthage.
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