Texas High School Rodeo Finals contestants have their eyes on the prize

THSR finals in Abilene this week

ABILENE, Texas - The Texas High School Rodeo Finals are in full swing at the Taylor County Expo Center.

There are about 650 competitors this year, one of them is Keli Morgan. Morgan has been to the Texas High School Rodeo Finals three times, but last year didn't go as planned.

"Last year, tied my first one, I was good, set, just had to tie my second one down in goat tying and flipped my horse over backwards, had to go to the E.R. They thought I broke my wrist," said Morgan.

Morgan didn't let her injury keep her away.

"You always have to keep a positive attitude about it and just know that you have a next run," she said. 

Morgan said the competition is about more than winning, although that is her goal.

"My goal every year is to make it to nationals."

She said the competition is also about spending time with the other contestants. Like Rachel Oswalt who will try her hand at the breakaway event for the first time this year.

"It's a big accomplishment and I'm really blessed to make it this far because we're in region five and it's a very tough region," Oswalt said.

"The biggest, the baddest, and the best! We have a lot more people than all the other regions do and it's extremely competitive," added Morgan. 

Rochelle Johnson, Expo Center General Manager, said while Region Five may be the largest, the whole competition continues to grow each year.

"When it first came to us 24 years ago I was here and it wasn't quite as large as it is now, but it's grown both in the number of contestants as well as the number of RV hookups," said Johnson. 

But no matter how many people show up this year, Morgan still has only one thing on her mind.

"Hopefully this year, tie goats tomorrow, do something good, and make it to nationals," said Morgan. 

The top fifteen contestants in each event will receive a winning belt buckles. The top four will move on to Nationals in Wyoming.    

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