Morgan Adams of Taos didn't know when he snaked his rope out around the heels of his final steer in Gallup on Sunday (May 26) that he was about to be a state …
Morgan Adams of Taos didn't know when he snaked his rope out around the heels of his final steer in Gallup on Sunday (May 26) that he was about to be a state champion.
He and teammate Bridger Ketchum of Fort Sumner, who handles roping a running steer's head and turning the animal just so to help Morgan lasso the heels, entered the final day of the New Mexico Junior High Rodeo Association state championships in fourth place overall. The top four places go on to the national event.
But when the points for the whole rodeo season were added up, Morgan and Bridger had won the team-roping state title with 94 points. The two competed together at sanctioned rodeos in Artesia, Socorro, Farmington and Gallup before the state finals.
"What really helped us was just being consistent," said Morgan, 14.
Team roping is a true team sport in rodeo and it grew out of the practical needs on a ranch of rounding up big steers for branding or medical treatment, an endeavor that required more than one cowboy or cowgirl. Roping teams consist of the header and heeler and can be men, women or both. The team with the fastest time roping a steer wins. Teams can be penalized with added seconds for infractions such as breaking a barrier and starting after a steer too quickly or roping only one heel.
Morgan, an eighth-grader at Taos Middle School, also played basketball for the school. But his dad, John Adams, said Morgan has decided to devote his time now to rodeo. "Morgan plans to attend college on a rodeo scholarship and study ranch management," Adams said by email. "Once finished with college Morgan plans to compete in the Pro Rodeo Cowboys Association with the primary goal to make the PRCA National finals rodeo."
Morgan rode his 6-year-old American quarter horse, Buttermilk, in the team roping competition.
John Adams and Morgan's mom, Carol Adams, are the Taos rodeo team coaches. They both competed in rodeos. "It is in our blood," John Adams said.
The team - Northern New Mexico Rodeo Kidz - has sixth- to eighth-graders from Peñasco and the Taos Valley. They practice at an arena on the Adams property in Taos. John Adams said the team is growing.
Morgan thanked all his rodeo sponsors and admitted he was a little nervous about making his first trip to the national Junior High Rodeo Association finals, scheduled June 23-29 in Huron, South Dakota.
But he'll just try to focus, like he usually does. "I kind of just listen to my music," he said by phone as the family made the truck trek from Gallup back to Taos.
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