Cox heading to national final

Published 12:00 am Saturday, July 8, 2017

River Falls’ Casey Cox is headed to her fourth National High School Finals Rodeo.

Cox, who just graduated from Sparta Academy, said it’s the biggest rodeo in the world.

Cox started riding horses at a young age, and started her rodeo career in the seventh grade.

She’s following in her dad, Rodney’s footsteps.

“My dad was a team roper and mom rode horses,” she said. “I was just kind of born into it.”

The finals begin on July 16.

Cox said they will leave on July 12 and it will take three days to travel there. They will be there for a week and it will take three more days to return home.

She will compete in reined cow horse, light rifle and trap shooting while there.

Cox said her favorite rodeo event is breakaway, but she’s not competing in that at nationals.

Of the three events she’s participating in at nationals, she said trap shooting was her favorite.

“You shoot 25 rounds at clay pigeons,” she said.

Cox said she thinks that going to her fourth nationals gives her an advantage.

“It’s overwhelming your first year,” she said. “Each year it gets easier when you go into the arena.”

She’s the state reserve champion in trap shooting.

She also earned third at state in reined cow horse, which is where you show a horsemanship pattern, call cows and move the cow around the arena to show respect.

She also placed fifth in small rifle.

Cox will join more than 1,750 contestants from 43 states, five Canadian provinces and Australia in the rodeo competition.

They are competing for more than $200,000 in prizes and more than $350,000 in scholarships and the chance to be named world champion.

“I’m very thankful for the opportunity,” she said.

Cox plans to attend the University of West Alabama in Livingston this fall, where she will major in pre-vet.

“I plan to become a veterinarian in the future,” she said. “I’ve always liked animals and I feel like this is where I’d fit right in.”

Cox said she hopes to rodeo at the university, as well.

Live broadcasts of the performance will be aired on