Rodeo Finals in full gear this weekend

The Florida High School Rodeo Finals are taking place right here in Okeechobee at the Agri-Civic Center May 9-12.

Students from all across the state will be competing in the finals. The top 15 competitors in each event will be vying for the chance to represent the state of Florida at the High School Rodeo National Finals in Rock Springs, Wyo.

Rodeo performances start at 6 p.m. on Friday and Saturday. There is no charge for the public to attend, and there will be a concession stand open.

The rodeo will feature breakaway roping, goat tying, team roping, shooting, tie-down roping, bull riding, saddle bronc riding and bareback riding.

At 6 p.m. on May 11 before the rodeo, the Florida High School Rodeo Association (FHSRA) will crown their Miss Florida High School Rodeo queen for 2019. The two contestants up for the title this year are 17-year-old Savannah Nelson from Arcadia and 17-year-old Kairah Mosley from Ogden.

The event will also feature a dodgeball tournament at 11 a.m. on May 11 where 12 teams will compete for fun before the rodeo with the goal of helping the members and friends of the Florida High School Rodeo Association to build new relationships while strengthening old ones.

Not surprisingly, Okeechobee has had some rising stars in the high school rodeo circuit in recent years.

Last year, three Okeechobee teens, McKenna Hickson, Morgan Tripp and Shelby Kirton, traveled to compete in the 26th annual International Finals Youth Rodeo in Shawnee, Okla. Hickson is also coming off world championship win in the 19-and-under girls breakaway roping category at the junior National Finals Rodeo (NFR) held in Las Vegas in 2017.

Finally, FHSRA will have an awards banquet at 12 p.m. on May 12 at the Agri-Civic Center to mark the end of the Florida High School Rodeo Finals.

Richard Marion is a staff writer and photographer at Lake Okeechobee News and can be reached at rmarion@newszap.com.

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