Rodeo officials said rain alone isn’t enough to cause them to cancel the events.
“We’d stop for lightning,” said a rodeo representative. “We’re not canceling for a little bit of rain, though.”
Competitors and supporters came out wearing ponchos and carrying umbrellas. While there was some frustration among the competitors for having to compete in the conditions, attitudes stayed mostly positive throughout.
The NJHFR is now in its sixth day of competition at the Wilson County Exposition Center. Events Thursday included pole bending, where horses and riders braved the muddy grounds trying to qualify for the next round.
Other rodeo attractions such as food vendors and the trade show will also stay open through the rain.
The week of rodeo includes more than just the competitions, though.
There are 1,026 contestants representing 48 states, Canadian provinces and Australia competing in 14 different events this year at the James E. Ward Agricultural Center for the NJHFR. In between and after the 9 a.m. and 7 p.m. daily rodeo performances, the middle school competitors take part in entertainment activities held by National High School Rodeo Association sponsors. Contestants partook in clinics, roping challenges, splash day, scholarship interviews, a talent show and dance all in one day.
On Tuesday night, rodeo competitor Daniel Miranda from Maui, Hawaii showcased his abilities with the ukulele at the talent show.
He relates the experiences the National High School Rodeo Association offers to the motto on Maui, which is “training arena champions, raising life champions.”
Daniel’s mother, Mora Miranda, praised the NHSRA for creating an atmosphere where competitors and their families can develop lasting memories.
“It’s not the buckles they win; it’s the connections and relationships they make that will last longer than a lifetime,” said Mora Miranda.
The National Junior High Finals Rodeo is the second largest rodeo in the world behind only the National High School Finals Rodeo. The National High School Rodeo Association facilitates both.
The National Junior High Rodeo Finals will continue with performances at 9 a.m. and 7 p.m. each day and will conclude after the 7 p.m. final go-round performance Saturday.
For a complete list of results so far in this year’s competition or more information on the event, visit nhsra.com/junior-high-division.