Competitors at the Texas High School Rodeo Finals had their work cut out for them Saturday.
The fifteen highest ranked cowboys and cowgirls in each of twelve categories competed to see who would advance to the National High School Rodeo Finals in July.
The four best competitors in each category will move on to the National Finals in Rock Springs, Wyoming July 15th to the 21st.
Raeleigh Whitfield, a sophmore competing in the goat tying competition, was proud to have made it to the top fifteen. Raeleigh injured her knee last year and was unable to compete. After a difficult recovery, she said she was amazed she was doing so well.
"I'm pretty shocked right now. Did not expect to be coming in first especially going into the first round," said Raeleigh.
Her father, Steven Whitfield, looked on from the stands.
"I'm the proudest parent you could ever think of right now. It's been really terrific, been an adrenaline rush," said Steven.
"It's been a lot of blood, sweat and tears from what happened a year ago this week to where we're going right now. Right now we're winning the average in goat tying. Sitting right up there number one in the state waiting to see what happens tonight," he said.
Raeleigh said she wasn't nervous about facing the other cowgirls in her competition.
Her plan was simple. She said she wanted to "be fast, be smooth, try not to get ahead of myself and hope for the best."
Her dad agreed he was more proud than nervous, but some other parents were feeling the stress that comes with high-stakes competition.
"As a mother it's very nerve wracking, but I'm very proud too because she's worked so hard to get here," said Arinda Richards. Her daughter was competing in the barrel racing competition.
And as Richards' daughter sped around each barrel, her mother watched from the very front of the stands.