On July 7-12 the International Finals Youth Rodeo will commence at Shawnee, Oklahoma and Lea County with be represented by senior Maddy Rice of Lovington.
Rice is coming off the Best of the Best High School rodeo event in Gallup before heading to Shawnee. She will be participating in her third IFYR in the breakaway roping and goat tying events.
Rice will be going up against some of the best high school rodeo athletes in the nation and from Australia. She will be competing for the chance to win a share of the 250,000-dollar prize money, championship saddles, and buckles.
“I made the short round and made money in the first round. I ended up third in the first round of goat tying,” Rice said on the Best of the Best High School rodeo in Gallup.
After competing in Gallup, Rice is set to compete at the IFYR and go up against the best of the best.
“I think its really cool that they give kids like us chance to win that much money,” Rice said. “And allow us to do that at almost a professional level as high school students.
“I think it’s really cool that they can bring people from different states and different countries and bring them all together to do something we all love. Its different everywhere you are from New Mexico to Texas, and then whenever you bring in different countries it’s just such a different style. It’s really cool that they can bring them all together, and let us compete against each other to see who is the best of the best.”
Rice said that the IFYR is a chance for all rodeo athletes to show all the hours of hard work and practice they have spent in the events they run is exciting.
Rice will be going into this year IFYR as an experienced contestant. As a senior she has participated in two previous IFYR and knows what to expect.
“This will be the third time I will be at Shawnee,” Rice said. “It’s such a big event and there is so much going on, I think, a lot of your nerves come into play. With this being my third time, I really think I will be more settled in, my horses will know the arena better, and my nerves will be a lot better.
“I think its such a big event that being a first time the crowd and the noises, the stands filled with thousands of people I think your nervous will come into play if you have not experienced it before.”
When competing, Rice said that the other competitors and she do not worry about time or scoring. Instead they focus and doing what they have practiced on.
“We don’t really think about that,” Rice said. “I think you just think about doing your best and being solid. You try to catch both calves, you try to tie both goats, and you just try to do your best every run. Its easier not to think about the short round, its easy to just think of one run at a time and putting each run together.”
On the experience of the rodeo, Rice said there is a lot of nervous with the noise and the people.
“Its honestly electrifying,” Rice said. “You walk in and you see that many people watching you. There are so many things going on they actually have the arena split into three different arenas, so you have events going on both sides of you while you are doing your event. It’s so much going on and you know that people are watching you.
Rice spoke on her experience at the IFYR and how the experience will help her this year.
“The first time I was there, I was extremely nervous. Everything was new to me and you have to listen because there are three different announcers. I had so many people looking at me and the nervous were really high and my horses felt that. I just think that when you have been there you will start to ease down and the horses will relax and it will make your runs much smoother.
“The second time was easier on my nervous knowing what’s going to happen. But every single time you walk in the box and every single time you walk down the alley, you are going to have nerves just because something could go wrong. You never know what’s going to happen in a run.”
Rice will be looking to top her best performance at the IFYR this year by making it farther then the short round. She will be relying on her experience from having participated in the event and being a senior in trying to reach the final rounds in both events. The IYFR will begin on July 7 at Shawnee, Oklahoma.