SOME of the best young rodeo talent in the country have converged on Murrurundi's Rosedale Complex for their chance to join the Australian team at one of the biggest rodeos in the world.
The Australian High School Rodeo Association (AHSRA) national finals were held over the weekend with three rounds of competition coming to a conclusion on Sunday morning.
More than 40 competitors from as far as North Queensland and Victoria hit the rodeo ring for an action-packed program of events such as saddle bronc steer riding, bull riding, barrel racing, breakaway roping, ribbon roping, chute dogging and pole bending.
Among the local competitors, Scone's Chris Wilson came away second in the bull riding just behind Cassilis' Thomas Nash in first place.
Zane Hall picked up third while another Scone cowboy Brendan Kelly came away fourth after winning the second round with ten points.
Nash also roped in first place in the saddle bronc event.
All four cowboys now automatically qualify to compete at the National High School Finals Rodeo at Rock Springs, Wyoming in July.
Second time competitor, Blandford's Tyler Palmer, booked her ticket to America securing fourth place in barrel racing and first place in the goat tying event.
Fellow local, Scone's Ashely Randle, joins her on the Australian team for the second consecutive year.
In addition to providing a pathway for Australia's top high school finalists to compete abroad, the event gives the younger competitors from Year 6 to 8 the chance to make their mark at the National Junior High Finals Rodeo in South Dakota in July.
Among the lucky contingent is Muswellbrook's Kade Attenborough who came away third in the boy's goat tying and fourth in the junior bull riding.
He will be joined by talented young cowboy Linden Raaen who placed first in the boys breakaway, sb steer riding and goat tying, second in the bareback steer riding and second in the junior bull riding.
AHSRA vice president Matt Attenborough told The Advocate the weekend is a great introduction for younger competitors who have the chance to compete in events that aren't usually held in Australia.
"You're looking at 1100 competitors in the junior high and 1300 competitors in the senior high over there," he said.
"For some of the kids it will be their first opportunity to go this year and they'll be blown away."
High School Division All Round Champions
Rookie All Round Boy: Alex Pace
Rookie All Round Girl: Mackenzie Raaen
All Round Boy: Maddix Lovett
All Round Girl: Mackenzie Raaen
Junior Division All Round Champions
Rookie All Round Boy: Luke Leys
Rookie All Round Girl: Emi Carlson
All Round Boy: Nash Jones
All Round Girl: Emi Carlson
Full results are available on the Australian High School Rodeo Association website.