With the 2023-24 season just past the halfway mark in the North Texas High School Rodeo Association, teams from Azle and Springtown are enjoying much success.
In the team standings, Azle was sitting at the top with 8,113 points, a lead of more than 3,000 points over the runner-up entering this past weekend. Springtown was in fourth place with 3,689.
Individually, the teams have 20 athletes (11 Azle, 9 Springtown) among the top 15 in a variety of events. The top 15 in each event will advance to the NTHSRA Finals Rodeo May 17-18 at the arena in Saginaw.
"This season we have had several returning members that have helped with our overall standings. Several of our members ride for other organizations, so they are constantly practicing to be better," Azle team sponsor Kristy Scribner said.
Azle's Laurel Allred leads the walkup goat-tying standings, while Andrea Allred is in third place. Laurel also leads the pole competition. Also from Azle, Xavier Reyes is on top of the team roping-header standings and Kasen Scarlato leads team roping-heeler.
Scribner said along with competing in the NTHSRA, several team members compete for other rodeo associations and belong to other organizations. Currently, Laurel Allred, Sean Bunero and Hevenli Scribner compete in the Texas High School Rodeo Association Region 3 (THSRA).
Scribner leads THSRA Region 3 in poles. The top 10 in each event will advance to the THSRA Finals in June.
Scribner qualified for the National High School Finals in Gillette, Wyoming last summer in the poles. Laurel Allred has won several barrel racing and pole bending titles with Kids Junior Rodeo Association, while Scarlato and Reyes have won numerous team roping jackpots.
"This is one of the strongest teams I have been a sponsor of," Scribner said. "They will need to continue to place and be consistent to hold on to that top spot.
"Rodeo is a very humbling sport. You could win the rodeo this weekend, and not even make a qualified time the next weekend."
Laurel Allred is also among the competitors for the NTHSRA girls all-around championship. She is in second place with 2,198 points, behind Burkburnett's Paisley Fugate with 2,975.
"Laurel is one of my high point earners every rodeo. The All-Around Cowgirl title is still in reach for her to win," Scribner said. "She typically competes in three to four events at every rodeo, and usually places in at least two of them. Laurel’s goal this year was to win the all-around title."
Scribner noted that Saturday, Feb. 3, at 3 p.m., 11 members of the team will compete for their share of $26,000 in scholarship money at the Fort Worth Stock Show and Rodeo Scholarship Rodeo.
"These members have fought it out the first half of the season to be in the top 10 placings of their events to earn the chance. We would love for everyone to come out and cheer them on," Scribner said.
Scribner also thanked the Azle ISD for helping the team restore the AzTex Arena.
"We now have a place to host meetings and have weekly practices," she said.
Team sponsor Staci Harris has one of the largest teams competing in the NTHSRA with 19 participants, including nine who compete in more than one event.
"This season has gone really well for the team. We have seven competing next weekend — some in multiple events — at the FWSSR Scholarship rodeo whereas last year we had two," Harris said. "I am extremely impressed with the improvement of our team as a whole and the individual members who put in hours of work outside school, work and other responsibilities to improve in their events."
While she admits mathematically it will be hard to knock Azle from the top spot in the team standings, climbing to as high as second place (currently Brock with 4,802 points) is a possibility and catching Burkburnett for third (slightly more than 100 ahead of Springtown) is certainly possible.
And, of course, several individuals are well-placed in the standings of their respective events, including Colton Phillips, who leads bull riding.
Delaney Harris, who is sixth in the All-Around Cowgirl standings, is in the top 10 of both walkup and horse goat tying.
Of the 19 team members, a handful compete in the THSRA, Harris said.
"I am so proud of this team, and we have battled to sit in the top five of 64 teams, flip-flopping between third and fourth for the majority of the season so far."
North Texas High School Rodeo Association
Azle and Springtown competitors
Standings as of this past weekend