Myka Grajeda grabs the flag during the flag competition at a Black Mountain Junior Rodeo Series event Wednesday at the Moffat County Fairgrounds.

Photo by Nate Waggenspack

Myka Grajeda grabs the flag during the flag competition at a Black Mountain Junior Rodeo Series event Wednesday at the Moffat County Fairgrounds.

Moffat County youths ride at Black Mountain Junior Rodeo Series

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Jewel Vreeman rounds a barrel at a Black Mountain Junior Rodeo Series event Wednesday at the Moffat County Fairgrounds.

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Pepper Rhyne comes out of a turn during the barrel race at a Black Mountain Junior Rodeo Series event Wednesday at the Moffat County Fairgrounds.

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Kacey Wernsman, 4, is led along on his horse while clutching a flag at a Black Mountain Junior Rodeo Series event Wednesday at the Moffat County Fairgrounds.

— While their peers were showing off prize animals inside the livestock barn, local cowboys and cowgirls were riding atop their animals and putting their skills on display.

The Black Mountain Junior Rodeo Series came to the Moffat County Fairgrounds on Wednesday evening and added more variety to the 2013 Moffat County Fair. About 40 participants ages 3 and older came out to get runs and practice in for their upcoming competitive rodeo seasons.

The rodeo series in Craig offered a barrel race, flags and poles to anyone wanting to compete and allowed participants to take as many runs in each event as they wanted, making it a good opportunity to practice.

“Here, you can come out and be able to ride your horse, and you can do however many events as you want,” said Beverly Salazar, an organizer of the event. “So as part of the fair, it’s kind of low-key in that way, where in some rodeos, they wouldn’t let you just come up and ask to run again.”

So while the rodeo series provides opportunities for the youngest riders to get their feet wet and even be led around a barrel race by their parents, it also features some very competitive riders hoping to stay sharp along with their horses.

“For some of the kids, they take this very seriously,” Salazar said. “They do this because they want to get to the national rodeos and be successful. That’s what my daughter (Amber) wants to be able to do.”

Whether it’s the early learning stages or a means to staying competitive, the Black Mountain Junior Rodeo Series is an effective way to help anyone interested in rodeo.

“You get to see them progress,” Salazar said. “Some of the younger ones were having their parents walk them and now, they’re doing everything. It’s cool.”

Nate Waggenspack can be reached at 970-875-1795 or nwaggenspack@CraigDailyPress.com

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