Jack McAllister is the current 2018 Junior High School Montana State Tie-down Roping Champion. And he is set to step it up at the Junior High School Finals Rodeo in South Dakota.
The Hot Springs student headed out to his second National Finals for the sport of rodeo this year, competing in the tie-down roping and the ribbon roping events.
The National High School Rodeo Association (NHRA) boast thousands of members across the globe, all of which have to qualify to reach their own world stage here in the USA each year.
This year, the Junior High School Finals are being held in Huron, S.D. The event is the second largest youth rodeo event in the world, behind the National High School Finals.
Finals announcer Garrett Yerigan knows all too well the travels, guts and grit that are required for rodeo competitors of all ages to enable them to chase those arena dreams.
Yerigan was not only there in Texas for this years RFD-Tv The American announcing the semi-finals, but he also travels the world for PBR events and some of the most lucrative rodeos you can go.
“There are a thousand competitors for this finals, kids from 48 states as well as Mexico, Canada and Australia. Competition is just as fierce for these kids as it is for the pros,” said Yerigan.
Though McAllister is the current state champ for tie-down roping, he will go up against some of the best tie-down ropers in the country for his age group.
“I didn’t do so good last year, but it was a great experience and I know what to expect this year,” said McAllister of his event runs.
According to the unofficial draws list for the tie-down roping, there is upwards of 110 competitors registered to rope, including McAllister in tie-down.
Though not to just highlight the tie-down roping event, McAllister will team up with Paige Palin from the Bitterroot area for their team event called ribbon roping.
McAllister will be mounted on his horse Mike, while Palin will stand at the ready nearing the rope box on foot. When McAllister calls for the gate (timed event chute gate), he will step out, rope the calf, dismount and run his rope line to the calf’s head. And Palin, once McAllister has roped the calf, will run up the arena floor, grab the ribbon attached to the calf’s back and run back across a finish line in hopes of clocking an official score on the board.
“I’ve competed with Paige a couple of times, one of my other partners had already partnered up for the Montana State final. So I asked Paige. We did well enough to qualify and I think we will do good at the National Finals,” said McAllister.
The Northwest Montana team looks to be up against just more than 300 other teams in the ribbon roping. Palin will also compete in the barrel racing and goat tying events during the finals.
McAllister hit the rodeo road like a true seasoned cowboy, saying that he had been putting in plenty of time in the practice pen with his dad over the last week.
“Dad’s been helping me and Mike get tuned up for the competition. I know we’re ready to compete,” he said.
Not only did he work the practice pen, McAllister also hit the roping dummy and calf-tie dummy, so he keeps in good steady stride as he goes to make his three loops on the ground.
The young cowboy has also been taking in a few open rodeos since the summer runs have begun. Knowing there is an abundance of talent heading to the National Finals, he seems to be ready to show his fellow cowboys what he is made of.
“Last year, we camped next to the Australians, so it was cool to meet them,” said McAllister. “I can’t wait to meet more new friends and have a good time.”
With plenty of professional industry media and athletes getting around the rodeo finals grounds, McAllister said he will be ready to rub shoulders with the best in the industry and hopefully meet a pro athlete or two.
“The Junior High Finals are great for all these kids. They have the ability to soak up advice from some of the pros, and really get that extra tip or two before they step into the arena,” said Yerigan.
The Junior High Finals run from June 24-30. You may be able to catch McAllister in the midst of arena action by logging on to RIDEPASS.com. McAllister competed in ribbon roping with Palin in the Monday, June 25 evening performance, and Friday, June 29 morning performance. His runs in tie-down roping will be in the evening on Tuesday, June 26, and the Thursday, June 28 morning performance.