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Carter named fifth best rookie at rodeo finals

Features Editor

Kasee Carter’s goal is to be a rodeo champion and she has taken a giant step in that direction.

In her first year as a member of the Alabama Junior Rodeo Association, the 11-year-old was named the fifth place Rookie of the Year at the state rodeo finals in Montgomery this past weekend.

Ten rookies among the masses were recognized at the awards ceremony Sunday at the W.O. Crawford Arena. The top five rookies received silver belt buckles and Kasee’s buckle will be the first, of what promises to be many. in her trophy case.

"I was real excited to get fifth place," she said. "I started in eighth place and then went to seventh and then to fifth."

Being in fifth place, Kasee’s hardware was a belt buckle instead of a pen. Of course, she would have been proud of a pen, but silver is a cowgirl’s best friend.

And, Kasee was as exciting about her best friend winning rodeo queen as she was about her own recognition.

"Ellen (Trotman) won the rodeo queen contest and she will ride in all of the grand entries during the year," Kasee said. "She gets to pick the ones who ride with her and carry the flags."

Kasee’s broad smile is a hint that she will be riding in several grand entries during the 2002-2003 junior rodeo season.

However, Kasee won’t settle for just carrying flags. She wants to hear her name called

as a winner in her events, pole bending, barrels and goat tying.

"I didn’t do so good in Montgomery in barrels and pole bending," she said. "My horse cut through on the poles one time and I tripped the timer the other time. When I was running barrels, I hit the last barrel, but I had a good time going."

But, her favorite event, goat tying, was a different story.

Although she didn’t win, Kasee was happy with her performance.

Out of 40 competitors, she placed eighth the first go-round and seventh in the second.

"I thought I did good in goat tying and I’m going to work hard to do better in all my events," she said. "Going to the state finals was a lot of fun.

We had a cookout and a dance and I made a lot of new friends."

However, it wasn’t all fun and no work for the cowboys and cowgirls who participated in the rodeo.

Kasee was up before dawn to get her horse fed and groomed before heading for the arena at 8 a.m.

"But, it was worth it," she said. "I had a great time."

Kasee was also recognized as an Alabama Junior Rodeo Association member with all A’s in her schoolwork.

"If you ride rodeo you have to have good grades," she said. "I was proud of that award, too."

She was also proud of the send-off by Mayor Jimmy Lunsford.

The mayor wrote her a note saying he admired her dedication to become a rodeo champion. He wished her good luck at the state finals and that meant a lot to the young cowgirl.

With encouragement from her supporters and her determination and desire, Kasee Carter’s dreams should become reality.