Owen Gulledge, an eighth-grader at Chesterfield Ruby Middle School, has earned a position on the South Carolina National Junior High Rodeo Team and will travel with fellow teammates to Des Moines, Iowa, June 22-28 to compete at the 10th annual National Junior High Finals Rodeo in the boys’ breakaway roping competition.
Owen competed in the S.C. Junior High Rodeo in May, where he won the state championship in boys’ breakaway. Owen was also awarded the Michael Hare Memorial Scholarship.
Owen is the son of Kimberly and Jeff Mullis of Chesterfield and Phillip and Jennifer Gulledge of Cheraw. grandson of Gail and Terry Collins of Chesterfield and Ronnie and Vickie Gulledge of Pageland and Marilyn Caulder of Cheraw. He is great-grandson of Jennie Raffaldt of Ruby and Nell Funderburk of Pageland.
Featuring roughly 1,000 contestants from 42 states, five Canadian provinces and Australia, the finals rodeo is the world’s largest junior high rodeo. In addition to competing for more than $75,000 in prizes, contestants will also be vying for more than $100,000 in college scholarships and the chance to be named a National Junior High Finals Rodeo national champion.
To earn this title, contestants must finish in the top 20 – based on their combined times and scores in the first two rounds – to advance to Saturday evening’s final round. National champions will then be determined based on contestants’ three-round combined times and scores.
Again this year, the Saturday championship performance will be televised nationally as a part of the telecast series on RFD-TV. Live broadcasts of each performance will also air online at www.nhsratv.com. Performance times are 7 p.m. on June 23, and 9 a.m. and 7 p.m. each day thereafter.
Along with rodeo competition and the chance to meet new friends from around the world, rodeo contestants have the opportunity to enjoy shooting sports, volleyball, tug-of-war, contestant dances, family-oriented activities, church services sponsored by the Fellowship of Christian Cowboys and shopping at the NJHFR trade show as well as visiting area attractions as Des Moines hosts the finals rodeo for the first time.