There are several aspects of high school rodeo that sets it apart from other sports. With competition in the fall and spring, it has two seasons, animals are just as vital in performance as the athletes, and the competitors get paid.
When Moffat County High School senior Kelly White and sophomore Becky White were notified of their membership in the 2003-2004 Wrangler High School All Star Rodeo Team, they were offered another original characteristic of their sport -- a sponsorship.
"It's nice because they send you free clothes and shirts," said Kelly, who earned the honor for the second time in her high school career.
In a letter from Wrangler, the girls were acknowledged for their leadership qualities, academic eligibility and athletic achievements.
To qualify in the athletic achievement category, a competitor must finish in the top two for overall points in an event.
The sisters both finished fifth overall in events last season but at least three seniors were in front of them in the final standings. Since graduated students can't represent the team, the top two underclassmen are given the honor.
"This year, I hope to earn a spot without the seniors in front of me," Becky said. "It would also be nice to go to nationals to represent the team."
A top-four finish in the overall points earns a trip to the national rodeo, something the sisters both just missed last year. Kelly was fifth in barrel racing and Becky was one spot out in pole bending. In fact, since being named to her first Wrangler team, Kelly hasn't returned to nationals since her freshman year.
Did the honor create a sponsorship-induced jinx?
Becky didn't think it had caused bad luck for her sister.
"I don't really believe in the jinx stuff," she said.
The Wrangler Twenty X shirts and competition jeans are supposed to arrive before the spring season begins. The shirts are embroidered with the name of the team "Wrangler High School All Star Rodeo team.
"I like Wranglers and usually compete in them," the elder White said. "The only rule is that if we wear the shirts, we wear the jeans as well."
David Pressgrove can be reached at 824-7031 or firstname.lastname@example.org.