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2 locals headed to rodeo nationals

Maggie Holmes, left, and Katie Beck will compete in the national rodeo finals | Courtesy photo

Straughn High School graduate Katie Beck and 10th grader Maggie Holmes are on their way to a “once in a lifetime opportunity.”

Beck and Holmes will arrive today at the National High School Rodeo Association finals.

The first rodeo performance is Sunday at 7 p.m.

Beck, who has been involved in rodeo since third grade, said she’s enjoyed meeting the different people from all over the country.

Last month, Beck finished second in the Alabama High School Rodeo Association’s state finals in barrel racing, which earned her a spot in the nationals.

“Rodeos are always exciting,” she said. “It’s never the same. I’m super excited.”

The finals are some 1,700 miles away in Gillette, Wyo., and Beck said she’s excited about the journey. Finals will be held today through July 24.

“I’ll be happy to see the West,” she said. “It’s an opportunity of a lifetime to go to Wyoming to represent not only my state, but Covington County and my high school.”

Beck will be barrel racing this during the finals, which is also her first trip to the nationals.

“I have to give it my all and make the most of it,” she said. “I haven’t begun thinking about competition just yet. I think that’ll really hit home one we arrive in Gillette.

Beck said she is thankful for all the sponsors who have rallied behind her to help with expenses on the trip.

“This trip wouldn’t be possible without all the support from the community with sponsorships,” she said. “I am very thankful for the love and support I have received.”

Holmes, who is making the trip alongside Beck, qualified in the rope-bending category.

“It’s my first time going, too,” she said. “I’ve been rodeoing since I was 8 – so for seven years.”

Holmes said she’s really excited about the trip to nationals.

“I hope I can make everyone back home proud,” she said on the road to Wyoming. “Traveling with my friends is my favorite part about the rodeo.”