The International Finals Youth Rodeo (IFYR) in Shawnee, Okla., has selected Madisonville native Aly Ghormley to serve as one of six youth directors for their 2018 event. The individuals were announced at the conclusion of this year’s event, which lasted from July 9 through 14 at the Heart of Oklahoma Exposition Center.
“This is such an exciting opportunity,” said Ghormley. “To think that there were hundreds of kids there that could’ve been selected and I was chosen made me feels really blessed.”
Of the six competitors selected, Ghormley is the youngest at 15 years old. She will be joined by two 16-year-olds and three 17-year-olds. She is one of two selections from the state of Texas, along with Tatum Nelson of Alvarado. Other states represented are Alabama, Missouri and California.
“I’m really looking forward to next year,” said Ghormley. “I have already made a lot of friends, starting with the other youth directors. It’s really cool to meet other kids from different states who have the same passion as me.”
Ghormley’s main events include barrel racing, pole bending, goat tying and breakaway roping. Her favorite event out of them is pole bending because of the excitement of making it through all six of them. She loves competing in the event with her sister’s old pole horse, Midget.
“I’m ready for the growth that this organization can give me as well as the marks I can make on people’s lives,” said Ghormley. “I thank God for letting me have this great opportunity.”
Youth directors serve as student representatives of the IFYR and their sponsors during rodeo week as well as the rest of the year. During the rodeo itself, youth directors meet with contestants and bring any requests, complaints or other information to the IFYR judges and the Expo Center manager.
“We are so proud to announce the youth directors for next year’s rodeo,” said Chris Dunlap, Assistant Director of the Heart of Oklahoma Exposition Center and International Finals Youth Rodeo. “These young competitors fill an important role for the IFYR and we are looking forward to working with them.”
The IFYR is non-profit organization and has been held annually since 1993. It recognizes the top high school athletes with a professional rodeo. The events include hundreds of contestants vying to win more than $25,000 in prize money, competing in 10 events running simultaneously in three arenas over six days. In 2016, the event hosted over 920 contestants and their families from 34 states.
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