Young cowboy

Caden Hooper, 11, is competing in the National Junior High School Rodeo Association finals in Huron, South Dakota later this month.

It’s off to Huron, South Dakota, for a San Pedro Valley resident and a national rodeo competition.

Caden Hooper, 11, of Benson, is on the books for the National Junior High School Rodeo Association finals later this month. It’s the 15th national finals, according to the NJHSRA website. The competition runs June 23-29.

Despite the pre-teen age, Hooper is a rodeo competition veteran.

Caden will be competing in tie down roping and goat tying as he was the Reserve Champion Tie Down roper and fourth place goat tyer at the Arizona Junior High School Rodeo Association finals in Sonoita on May 10-11.

That competition featured roughly 1,000 contestants from 44 states, five Canadian provinces, Australia and Mexico, the NJHFR is the world’s largest junior high rodeo. In addition to competing for more than $80,000 in prizes, NJHFR contestants will also be vying for more than $200,000 in college scholarships and the chance to be named a National Junior High Finals Rodeo World Champion, the Arizona Range News reported.

To earn this title, contestants must finish in the top 20 — based on their combined times/scores in the first two rounds — to advance to Saturday evening’s final round. World champions will then be determined based on their three-round combined times/scores.

New this year is a $50,000 added money optional jackpot available to everyone at finals who cares to enter.

Again this year, the Saturday championship performance will be televised nationally as a part of the Cinch High School Rodeo Tour telecast series on RFD-TV. Live broadcasts of all NJHFR performances will air on Performance times are 7 p.m. on June 23, and 9 a.m. and 7 p.m. each day thereafter.

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