Trevor Haught’s immediate career goal is to find a way to stay aboard a 1,500-pound wild, bucking bronc for eight seconds while clinging only to a braided rein.
So far in his young career, the 18-year-old has been very successful — he’s won two Arizona High School Rodeo Association bareback titles and has finished as high as seventh in the national high school championships.
That showing was chalked up last summer at the San Juan County Fairgrounds where Haught racked up a cumulative score of 160 in three go-arounds of the bareback finals.
There, Haught was competing against qualifiers from around North America in what is the world’s largest rodeo.
His goal this year — his final on the prep rodeo circuit — is to win both the national bareback and all-around cowboy championships.
He’ll have the opportunity to do that July 19-15 when the 61st National High School Rodeo Finals are held in Farmington, N.M.
But before he begins preparations for the national showdown, Haught must focus on winning a state crown at the AHRA championships which will be held next week, June 10 to 13, at the Payson Event Center.
In an effort to win the state all-around title, Haught will enter the team roping as well as bareback riding.
“I’m sitting about ninth or 10th in the all-around, the team roping should give me more points,” he said.
In team roping, he will join forces with Kristin Summerfield of Sonita.
Haught enters the state bareback riding as the odds-on favorite to win the crown mostly because he’s done well the entire 2008-2009 season.
“I think my best ride was a 78 at Globe,” he said. “I had a really good horse.”
He also took firsts with a 76 on April 19 at Florence, at Prescott on May 16 with a 71, and on March 15 at Gilbert with a 74.
On April 4 at Taylor he was second, recording a 55.
As a junior at Payson High School two years ago, he won all 12 high school rodeos running away with the state title with 163.5 points.
His sophomore season, he entered the state finals in Taylor just two points ahead of the runner-up.
A second-place showing in Taylor earned him the points he needed to claim his first state bareback championship.
In addition to excelling on the high school circuit, Haught has shown well in professional and other competitions including the Grand Canyon Pro Rodeo Association.
Last spring at the Bares, Bulls and Broncs United American Tour in Payson, he road Roan Ranger to a 73 and a tie for third place.
At the Gary Hardt Memorial Rodeo last month, competing against professional cowboys, he rode Border Town to a 61 and fourth place.
Haught, who lives with his parents on the Cross F Ranch New Sunflower, became interested in bareback riding his eighth-grade year when he first climbed aboard a wild bronc.
“I liked it and it was something I could do (well),” he said.
His expertise the last three years has impressed many onlookers, including Payson Event Center coordinator Charlene Hunt who is staging the upcoming Arizona High School state championships.
“You’ll someday see him in the national finals,” she predicts.
The state championships kick off at 6 p.m., Thursday, June 11 in PEC with a queen contest. Ashley James will represent Payson as the AHRA queen’s first attendant.
“I’ll also compete in the barrel racing, pole bending and breakaway roping,” she said.
James graduated last month from Payson High School.
Jessica Stone and Jessie James are also expected to represent PHS in the rodeo.
Following the queen contest, the celebration continues from 8 to 11 p.m., June 12 with the annual prom at the Mazatzal Hotel.
Rodeo action begins at 7:30 a.m., June 12 and 13 and wraps up Saturday evening with an awards presentation and banquet.