FARMINGTON — Two years worth of experience at the National High School Finals Rodeo are soon going to pay off for Betty Jo Pack of Aztec.
Pack, a freshman at Mesalands Community College in Tucumcari, has qualified for the College National Finals Rodeo in breakaway roping. The rodeo will be held June 9 to 15 in Casper, Wyo.
“I am more nervous than anything, but it is exciting,” Pack said. “I just hope to rope all of my calves and make it to the short go.”
The Mesalands Community College women’s team won the Grand Canyon Regional Championship this season, which includes schools such as New Mexico State University and the University of Arizona. As of April 30, Pack was in sixth place in the regional standings in breakaway roping.
Pack won the Cochise College Rodeo breakaway roping event on March 3 in Las Cruces. She also took second at Mesalands’ rodeo on Oct. 15.
“I have been placing consistent all year,” Pack said. “We really have a tough team this year.”
Mesalands is sending 10 members of its rodeo teams to the CNFR. Mesalands has athletes representing two foreign countries and seven different states.
“This season has been really good. It has been way different from high school rodeo,” Pack said. “It has been really fun getting to know people from different cultures and stuff. Coming from Farmington, it is interesting to meet Australian people and people from Mexico doing rodeo and competing.”
Mesalands coach C.J. Aragon is proud of the team’s diversity and expects them to perform well at the finals.
“We are sending a more experienced group to nationals this year. They are a pretty veteran group, even though they are pretty young. That makes it nice as far as getting students prepared. They know what they need to do to compete well at nationals,” he said in a prepared statement.
Mesalands’ women’s team is looking to improve on its fourth-place finish in the 2012 CNFR. They are currently ranked fifth in the nation.
“We just want to go and do our best and not worry about anybody else. Just work,” Pack said.
John Livingston can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org; 505-564-4648. Follow him on Twitter @jlivi2.