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Fletcher wins national title
FHS, BHS rodeo trio take top honors in Georgia

Many girls would go to great measures to be a varsity cheerleader at Farragut High School. Lucinda Fletcher, a freshman at FHS, had the opportunity to be one of those cheerleaders but turned it down to ride her horse and win a national championship.

Lucinda, who stopped in Amarillo, Texas, while traveling back from the 2006 Wrangler Junior High Finals Rodeo in Gallup, N.M., to her Northshore Drive home long enough to call farragutpress with the good news that she had captured the championship in Ribbon Roping. “I had to make a choice,” Lucinda said, “the cheerleaders were having a camp that ended on Saturday and I needed to be at the rodeo in Gallup.”

Lucinda said she tried to explain the importance of the Wrangler event, but her argument fell on deaf ears.

“I chose rodeo over cheerleading,” she said, adding that with prizes in tow of a large championship belt buckle, a new saddle and, best of all, a college scholarship to any school she picks, “I think I made the right choice.”

This on the heels of a stellar performance in Georgia as she, her sister Natalie and Haley Newport, a freshman at Bearden High School, all won state titles in June to qualify them for the Gallup contest held July 10-15.

In Georgia, Haley, daughter of Dr. Sean Newport and Christine Ladd, won the 2006 state Barrel Racing championship, defending her state championship title from 2005.

Lucinda won the state Breakaway Roping championship and her sister, Natalie, won the state Ribbon Roping championship and also the Reserve Champion All-Around Cowgirl. Natalie will be a seventh-grader at Farragut Middle School. Both are the daughters of Randy and Marty Fletcher, owners of Northshore Riding Stable.

Gallup officials said the Wrangler Division of the NHSRA is the first truly international junior high rodeo association in the world. Many of the states and provinces already competing in the NHSRA continue to have strong affiliations with junior rodeo associations in their states and provinces. With the NHSRA and Wrangler Division working together, not only are they building future membership in the high school ranks, they are providing an opportunity for membership growth in the junior associations and a chance to compete on the National level. For years cowboys and cowgirls in grades sixth through eight have attended the National High School Finals Rodeo as fans, but now they have their own championships to win.

Competition is open to boys and girls in the sixth, seventh and eighth grades. Each state or province will hold at least one qualifying rodeo where they compete at state levels for local recognition. The top four contestants in each event qualify for the Wrangler Junior High Finals Rodeo held annually in July. More than 900 contestants from each of the more than 41 state/province associations compete for national titles, awards and scholarships.

You can see these cowgirls, Lucinda and Natalie, compete in Farragut at the Dodge National Cowboys Association Rodeo at Prater Farms on Northshore Drive, July 28-29. Events begin

at 8 p.m.

Until then, Lucinda said she’ll be busy practicing and exercising her horse everyday. See next week’s farragutpress for more details.


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