Bryndee Hall keeps busy in most rodeos.
So she had a lot more free time than normal when she qualified for pole bending in last year’s National Junior High Finals Rodeo in Gallup, N.M. She usually competes in five events at rodeos.
“I didn’t feel like I was doing much,” she said of last year’s NJHFR experience.
She set loftier goals this season, working to qualify in several events by placing among the top four in the Arizona Junior High Rodeo Association points standings. And the Rim Country Middle School eighth-grader did just that, qualifying for the 10th Annual NJHFR June 22-28 in Des Moines, Iowa in four of her five events.
Hall qualified in pole bending, breakaway, ribbon roping and goat tying. The only event she failed to advance in was barrel racing.
She ended the AJHRA season as the reserve all-around cowgirl. She’s also the reserve champion in breakaway and ribbon roping and placed third in goat tying and pole bending.
During the AJHRA Finals in Sonoita on May 23-24, Hall won the 3 go round average buckle in pole bending with three consistent 20-second runs.
“I wanted to qualify in more events this year,” she said. “I was more dedicated this season and I feel like my practicing paid off. I hoped that I could do that, but I didn’t know if I would.”
Hall, who placed second in pole bending in the state last year to qualify for nationals, where she was the highest Arizona finisher in that event, said last year’s experience at the nationals should help her in her return.
“I had no idea what nationals was last year,” she said. “I was excited then right before I ran I was kind of nervous.”
Along with more focus during practice, the 14-year-old Rye resident said the fact that she’s one of the older kids didn’t hurt her chances of improving in her final season in the AJHRA. She’ll move up to the Arizona High School Rodeo Association as a ninth-grader at Payson High next season.
Hall also plays softball, starting on her eighth-grade team this spring.
She maintains a 4.0 grade point average and is a member of the National Junior Honor Society.
One of her good horses, Babe, was hurt in March and unable to compete the rest of the season. Luckily, she was able to borrow a horse to finish on and did very well. She plans to compete on her horse, Grey, in the breakaway and use Tot in the poles and goats. Prescott’s Sam Garside is her ribbon-roping partner.
The family seeks donations to help cover some of the cost of the trip to the nationals. Anyone interested in helping can call Lani Hall at (928) 595-0655.
Hall has her sights set on performing well enough in Iowa to make a run at winning prizes and/or one of several scholarship opportunities available in the school-sanctioned event.
Featuring roughly 1,000 contestants from 42 states, five Canadian provinces and Australia, the NJHFR is the world’s largest junior high rodeo. In addition to competing for more than $75,000 in prizes, NJHFR contestants will also be vying for more than $100,000 in college scholarships and the chance to be named National Junior High Finals Rodeo National Champion. To earn this title, contestants must finish in the top 20 — based on their combined times/scores in the first two rounds — to advance to Saturday evening’s final round. National champions will then be determined based on their three-round combined times/scores.
The Saturday championship performance will be televised nationally as part of the Cinch High School Rodeo Tour telecast series on RFD-TV. Live broadcasts of each NJHFR performance will also air online at NHSRATV.com. Performance times are 7 p.m. on June 23 and 9 a.m. and 7 p.m. each day thereafter.
The Halls said they had some great supporters, including Winterholler Dentistry, Bob and Ruth Klaver, Sandra Butler, Black Mountain Excavating, Con-Wear Inc. and Bob’s Western Wear. The family also thanked the James family for their “never-ending support and encouragement.”