Fort Sumner appears to have a two-out-of-three chance to earn the state high school calf-roping champion.
Brody Stallard and Kit Pettigrew are ranked 1-2 going into tonight’s short-go in the New Mexico High School Rodeo Association state finals at Curry County Event Center.
Pettigrew, who moved ahead of Aztec’s Michael Perry in Friday’s competition, said he can live with whatever happens, adding that those three are comfortably ahead of the rest of the field.
“I’d like to win it, but I’d be glad to take second to either one of those guys,” said Pettigrew, a recent graduate. “Brody’s been pretty much first the whole year. Sometimes he’ll win, sometimes I’ll win, and sometimes Michael will win.”
You can probably assume Stallard and Perry feel the same way. After the calf roping was over, they were paired together for team roping later Friday.
Pettigrew said he was able to move up a notch because Perry missed his calf on Friday.
“It went good,” he said. “I went to (Clovis cowboy) Sylvester Mayfield’s house tonight, and it helped me. He kind of straightened me out. I did the best I could tonight.”
Pettigrew will continue in the sport at Mesalands Community College in Tucumcari, then hopes to be able to go pro. Unlike Stallard and Perry, he doesn’t do other events in rodeo.
“I can focus on (calf roping),” he said. “I work every day at it.”
Logan’s Levi Molesworth was first after Friday’s second go in bareback riding.
Molesworth, also competing in team roping with Quinton Ellis of Lovington, started in team roping at age 10, but has taken up bareback riding only in the last two years.
“The competition’s not as tough in bareback riding; there’s only six bareback riders,” said Molesworth, who will be a senior in the fall. “There are about 30 (teams of) team ropers.”
Bareback riding is a rugged event and would not seem suited to the 5-foot-9, 120-pound Molesworth.
“When I started they told me I needed to lift weights, but I didn’t want to do that,” he said. “Actually I didn’t want to do (the event) at all, but then my dad said, ‘We’re gong to do bareback riding.
“When I first started, I’d get so nervous I’d throw up. But I’ve gotten to like it.”
By finishing in the top four, Molesworth would earn a trip to the National High School Rodeo Finals in late July at Gillette, Wyo. He said he and Ellis were around 10th in team roping going into Friday night’s competition, but thought they could move up and still reach the nationals.
“We’ll try to get there,” he said. “There are a lot of teams that are close.”