HURON — While many of the more than 1,000 participants in the National Junior High Finals Rodeo logged a lot of miles to get here, one had to travel just 12 miles to compete.
Camy Anderson of Huron is a member of the Team South Dakota delegation, which qualfied for the event.
“It’s actually pretty amazing,” Anderson said of having the NJHFR in her hometown. “I’ve got to meet a lot of people and tell them where everything is, take them places and getting a chance to talk to everyone.”
While Anderson has competed in the traditional rodeo events for years, she earned her trip to the national event in the light rifle shooting event.
“I was pretty happy with myself, but I still couldn’t believe I did it. I’m in awe still,” said the 15-year-old, who just completed her eighth-grade year at Huron Middle School. “This is the only year I actually competed in junior high and I made it, so I was pretty happy with it.”
A total of 108 shooters from across the United States, Mexico, Canada and Australia competed in the shooting competition during the NJHFR, which was held at the Huron Metallic Silhouette Club range. Anderson finished in the top half of the field, but was unable to qualify for the short-go, which included the top 20 shooters.
“I felt it went pretty good,” she said of her performance in the national competition, whch was Tuesday. “I could’ve shot better, but I was nervous.”
In addtion to competing, Anderson has enjoyed the opportunity to fill various other roles in helping make the rodeo’s stop in Huron a success.
“I’ve helped check people in and kind of hung out with everyone from different states and just kind of talked to them,” Anderson said. “My favorite part is socializing with everyone — getting to know people, getting to know new faces and talking with them. Especially not just the kids, but their parents and learning so much about different states and different towns in them.”
Other events that Anderson competed in throughout the year included barrel racing, pole bending, goat tying, breakaway roping and team roping. She pointed to team roping as being her favorite event.
“It’s not just a personal event, like you’re doing it yourself,” she said of team roping, where she fills the heeler role. “You have to work together with your teammate, whether you’re the header or heeler. Both ends are pretty hard, because you both have to have good techniques.”
Although Anderson will be moving up to compete at the high school level next season, she is looking forward to the National Junior High Finals Rodeo returning to Huron in 2019.
“I’m Just happy it’s in town here and it’s going to be here another year,” she said.