JENNIFER FIERRO • STAFF WRITER
MARBLE FALLS — Ryan Becker, Tyler Ryan and Tyler Horn of Marble Falls High School are one rodeo away from competing at the team-roping national rodeo.
But first, they must finish in the top four at the Texas High School Rodeo Association’s team-roping finals in Abilene.
Becker will team with Ryan, while Horn’s partner is Clayton Coone of Liberty Hill. The two teams will face 98 others for four berths to the national team-roping rodeo. Teams from the state of Texas have won eight consecutive national titles.
“It’s tough,” Becker said about qualifying for nationals, which are July 12-18 in Rock Springs, Wyoming.
“Texas has the most people who qualify for the national rodeo based on who qualifies from each state,” Horn said. “It’s so competitive.”
Other states that do well at the national rodeo are Wyoming and North Dakota, Horn said.
“They have real cowboys,” he said. “They do rodeo work every day.”
Each team is guaranteed two timed runs for an average, Horn said. The top 30 times will advance to the finals, which are June 13.
The local teams have spent at least three hours a day several days a week practicing since they qualified for the state rodeo in March by finishing in the top 10. The late May rains, however, forced both teams to pull back on their training.
“We haven’t gotten to rope as much as we wanted,” Becker said.
Since so many teams qualified for state, organizers spaced out the two runs during a five-day period that begins June 8.
Horn and Coone will compete June 8 and return to the arena June 12.
To keep it challenging, the first run will be conducted outdoors, while the second is indoors.
“Indoors is a lot faster. It makes you move,” Becker said. “Everything is right there.”
“All the other teams go out really fast,” Horn said. “The best thing to do is go out and make a clean run.”