WJRA hands out 160 awards at banquet

By Krista Allen
Special to the Times

TUBA CITY, Jan. 26, 2012

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(Special to the Times - Krista Allen)

TOP:Wyatt Earle was awarded a saddle Jan. 14 at the Western Junior Rodeo Association 2011 awards banquet. He placed 2nd in flag racing, 2nd in barrel racing, 1st in wooly riding, and 1st in goat tying. He was named the all-around champion in the midget division.
SECOND FROM TOP:Twister Jim was named a reserve champion in the midget division Jan. 14 at the Western Junior Rodeo Association 2011 awards banquet. He placed 4th in flag racing, 3rd in goat tying, 2nd in wooly riding, and 1st in barrel racing.
THIRD FROM TOP: Brad "Casino" Moreno was named a co-reserve champion in the peewee division Jan. 14 at the Western Junior Rodeo Association 2011 awards banquet. He placed 5th in barrel racing, 4th in goat tying, and 1st in steer riding.
BOTTOM: Keili Gilbert was awarded a "Cowgirl Up" buckle in the peewee division Jan. 14 at the Western Junior Rodeo Association 2011 awards banquet.

Country music sounded loudly as members of the Western Junior Rodeo Association and their families gathered Jan. 14 at Greyhills Academy's dining hall for their 2011 awards banquet.

With Chipper Bedonie from Cow Springs, Ariz., serving as master of ceremonies, 160 awards were given to 58 elite members. Among the awards were bracelets, buckles, hatboxes, pocketknives, ropes, saddles, saddle pads, spurs, spur straps, and many other prizes.

"It looks like a western store," said Debi Farrell, WJRA's treasurer.

The Greyhills Academy Culinary Club catered the event. They served a main course of roast beef, mashed potatoes with gravy, mixed vegetables and dinner rolls. They also served salad, peach cobbler for dessert, and drinks.

Because the WJRA is a youth group, Grey Farrell Jr., the association's president, said, "We wanted to support the Culinary Club and give our money to another youth group, instead of some other business."

The cost to rent the dining hall was $50.

"Today, the kids are remembered, and they'll be given awards," Grey said during his welcome address. "It's been a good season. We worked hard, got tired, but it's all for fun.

Now that the first year of his two-year term as president ended, Grey said it's had work but something that he enjoys because he was raised to be diligent.

However, WJRA, a nonprofit parent-run organization, is all about teaching the youth about responsibility. It's not manifested in a wild or aggressive way, Grey Farrell said.

He said livestock teaches the youth to care for their animals. And it prompts them to maintain their animals under any circumstance.

"And that's the way junior rodeo is - teaching youth to be responsible for what they have," Grey said. "It's a journey, it's life."

He said the WJRA started the 2011 season with no funds and the new board members had to use their own money for the first rodeo.

WJRA members asked for donations and accumulated $14,343 at the end of the season. Other funds came from fundraisers, sponsors, rodeos, and T-shirt sales.

The WJRA raked in a grand total of $34,188 for the season.

"When we took office, we made sure that we were transparent," Grey Farrell said. "We showed every dollar and every penny that came into this association was accounted for."

The total cost for the banquet was $21,471.

"We only have about $1,200 to $1,500 left in the bank, and that goes to next season," Debi Farrell said.

Based on WJRA's standings, Wyatt Earle won all-around champion in the midget division and was awarded a saddle, sponsored by Recon.

All-around champions from each division were awarded saddles. The winners include Lelisa Watson (peewee), Trevor Jim (peewee), Kyara Chewing (junior coed), Tee O'Brien Jim (junior coed), Autumn Whitehorse (senior girls), Chance Williams (senior boys), and Riadal Nelson (senior boys).

"These saddles are top-of-the-line saddles," Grey Farrell said. "They're Teskeys.

"We asked the kids, 'What kind of saddle do you want?' Some of the girls said, 'I want a barrel saddle.' And some of the boys said, 'I want a roping saddle or calf roping saddle,'" he said. "We had input from them so that's how we came up with the awards.

"We had a good season, a really good year," he said in his closing remarks. "We'd like to repeat it."

The 2012 WJRA membership drive will take place March 24 and 25 at the Vermillion Saddle Club Arena in Page, Ariz.

The WJRA had 101 members for the 2011 season.

Information: wjraonline.com or Grey Farrell Jr., 928-606-0502.