HPJRA FINALS: Youngster has Plan B

CNJ staff photo: Tony Bullocks Audrey Wren of Texico, left, shows her friends the crosses she made and is selling at the High Plains Junior Rodeo. Wren had Thursday’s best time among 18 contestants in 8-and-under barrel racing.

By Eric Butler: CNJ correspondent

It’s a long way from the 8 and under category at the High Plains Junior Rodeo Association Finals to the upper echelon of the rodeo profession. And, as Audrey Wren’s mom pointed out to one flatterer, there are things like junior high, high school and college to consider.

But if the 9-year-old from Texico ever decides to halt her barrel-riding somewhere along the way, she may be able to fall back on entrepreneur skills she’s developing right now.

After Wren posted the best time in the second go-around at the HPJRA Finals, a 17.282-second ride that barely edged Clovis’ Shelby Mayfield (17.366), the little girl traded cowgirl wear for normal summer garb and was told that some decorative crosses she had painted were selling quite well at a jewelry booth under the stands at Curry County Mounted Patrol Arena.

It turns out that fellow competitors were buying Audrey Wren’s crosses and tying them to their saddles as the Finals entered its third day in Clovis.

“She’s the featured artist at my booth, and she’s made a lot of money,” Karolyn White said.

“I’m putting some in my savings account and some I’m spending,” Audrey said.

The recent third-grader’s skills in rodeo events are also not to be denied. Entering the finals, Wren was second overall in barrel racing and in girls goat tying for the youngest age group.

“She’s been riding on her own since she was 5 and she’s been working hard,” said Brenda Wren, Audrey’s mom. “She didn’t win anything for two years. She has a 20-year-old mare that runs really good.”

Audrey’s horse is named Sis.

“She is a sorrel horse and she has a white stripe (on the nose) and she runs really fast,” Audrey said.

Should her interest in rodeo continue through all the various levels of education, there’s little doubt who will be the prime standard of barrel racing in the Wren household. Brenda Wren graduated in 1987 from Clayton High — only one year before famed barrel racer Charmayne James followed suit at the same school.

For now, the Wrens were just thinking of what’s in store over the remainder of the week.

“I think she’ll make the short-go in barrels, poles and goats,” Brenda said on Thursday morning. “And, maybe (in breakaway), if she catches a cow.”

Throwing a lasso around a speeding calf was one major qualification for getting into the finals for many of the events.

After Hayden Moore of Clovis posted the second-best time of the morning in the 13-15 calf roping, the 13-year-old was relieved to get the rope on the calf. Each contestant in the calf-roping gets two chances before the finalists are chosen for Saturday’s last short-go competition.

“You’ve got to catch both cows,” Moore said. “If you miss one, you’’re out.

“I was concentrating. I wasn’t really nervous.”

In the girls 9-12 breakaway roping, Clovis’ Teryn Tate was the only one on Thursday morning to find the calf’s head with her lasso.

“My horse (called Paint) is practically everything,” she said. “The last person who had this calf chased it around the ring and she’s got a very fast horse. I was pretty nervous because I didn’t know if I’d be doing that too.”