Sixth grader Cierra Polhemus, who attends El Portal Middle School in Escalon, has earned a position on the California State National Junior High rodeo team and is with fellow teammates in Gallup, New Mexico, June 23-29 to compete at the ninth annual National Junior High Finals Rodeo (NJHFR) in the barrel racing competition.
Cierra won the title of the 2013 Champion Junior High Division Barrel Racer at the California State Finals Rodeo hosted in Plymouth, CA, May 17-19. She also finished fifth in the state in pole bending and made the final short-round in breakaway roping. She is the daughter of Brandon and Jill Polhemus of Escalon. Paternal grandparents are Ron and Clyta Polhemus of Escalon and maternal grandparent is Pat Golding of Oakdale.
Featuring more than 1,000 contestants from 41 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 the National Junior High Finals Rodeo National Champion. To earn this title, contestants must finish in the top 20 – based on their combined times 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.
Also competing in Gallup, from the local area will be Wyatt Hansen (Oakdale), Mikayla Hagemann (Modesto), and Lauren Flaherty (Stockton).
Again, this year, the Saturday championship performance on June 29 will be televised nationally as part of the CinchTown Tour telecast series on RFD-TV. Live broadcasts of each NJHFR performance will also air online at NHSRATV.com, powered by iHigh.com. Performance times are 9 a.m. and 7 p.m. each day.
Along with great rodeo competition and the chance to meet new friends from around the world, NJHFR 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 tradeshow, as well as visiting historical attractions of New Mexico and nearby Arizona.
To follow local favorites at the NJHFR, visit NHSRA.org daily for complete results.