DeLee to compete in national rodeo event

A middle school student from West Feliciana Parish will compete in the National Junior High Finals Rodeo later this month in Lebanon, Tennessee.

Trevor DeLee, a soon-to-be seventh-grader at West Feliciana Middle School, has qualified in boys breakaway roping for the 2017 NJHFR, which will take place June 18-24.

Breakaway roping is a variation of calf roping where a calf breaks from a chute and a mounted rider throws a lasso around the calf’s neck. The roper signals the horse to stop suddenly. The rope is tied to the saddle horn with a string. When the calf hits the end of the rope, it’s pulled tight and the string breaks, which signals the end of the run. The fastest run wins.

DeLee and his horse Bobcat earned the right to compete in what is billed as the “World’s Largest Junior High Rodeo” by finishing second in boys breakaway in a series of rodeo events through the Mississippi Junior High School Rodeo Association. He’ll compete in Lebanon as a member of Team Mississippi, although his family lives close to St. Francisville.

“We compete in the MJHSRA because the events are actually closer to us in Mississippi,” said David DeLee, Trevor’s father, a machinist who tends to a herd of cattle with his wife, Meredith, an agriculture teacher in East Feliciana Parish. “He’s third generation, so it’s in his family and in his blood.”

The NJHFR annually attracts more than 1,000 competitors from 43 states, five Canadian provinces and Australia.

In addition to competing for more than $80,000 in prizes, NJHFR contestants will also vie for more than $200,000 in college scholarships and the chance to be named a NJHFR world champion. To earn the title, contestants must finish in the top 20 based on their combined times in the first two rounds to advance to the final round.

World champions will be determined based on their three-round combined times/scores. The championship round will be televised nationally on RFD-TV and will be aired on nhsratv.com. This is the second time the event is being held in Lebanon.

“It’s an honor to just be invited to compete at the nationals,” David DeLee said. “A lot of good competitors don’t even make it that far.”

Trevor became interested as a young boy who always played around with roping. He started on the ground, then when he became skilled enough, he started working with horses. His sister Callie, who just finished ninth grade, also competes in rodeo events and earned a trip to the national event two years ago in girls breakaway.

The top four competitors in each category earn berths in the NJHFR. Trevor was second in the season points race in breakaway. He just missed qualifying for nationals in goat tying, finishing fifth. He was seventh in cinch division ribbon roping and ninth in cinch division team roping.

“Next year, I hope to make it in a bunch of events,” Trevor said.

Still, Trevor held his own against the competition, many of them older and more experienced cowboys. For his efforts, he was named Mississippi National Rookie of the Year for 2016-17.

Rodeo isn’t the only thing the DeLee children are involved in. They also show cattle in local, district and state 4-H competitions. Next year, Trevor said he plans to try out for the WFMS football team.

Send sports news, photos and stats to Howard Arceneaux at harceneaux@theadvocate.com.