By: Julia Dondero

High School Rodeo presents a unique level of pride, tradition, and anticipation unlike anything else in the sport of Rodeo. High School Rodeo also provides opportunities for future champions to compete at the next level and foster a lifelong love of the sport. The 2023 Texas High School Finals also presented revolutionary opportunities for the next generation of champions, with the World Champions Rodeo Alliance Division Youth Texas Trifecta Bonus. This year, THSRA and WCRA DY teamed up to bring a $20,000 bonus to the 2023 THSRA State Finals and a direct path to the CINCH World Championship Junior Rodeo with over $200,000 added, at the Lazy E Arena in July 2023. 

To claim their piece of the $20,000 bonus, athletes must have won their THSRA Regional title, a round at state finals, and the state title. This year, Landon Cook, Skyler Nicholas, Kash Martin, Cole Smith, and Nicky Northcott walked away with a little more in their pockets, as well as a coveted spot at the WCJR this July.

For first-time National High School Rodeo Finals qualifier Nicky Northcott, this Texas Trifecta Bonus was a thrilling bonus to an exhilarating week. The 16-year-old incoming junior explained, “I was super pumped and grateful to win this bonus. I was super excited about it and will put the money towards continuing my rodeo career.” 

Nicky Northcott at 2023 THSRA State Finals. Photo Courtesy of Celeste Northcott.

For the champion heeler from Region Ten, and his champion header Cole Smith,  the anticipated week of high school rodeo in Abilene was full of highs and lows. With a win in the first go and a slipped leg in the short go, the duo was full of nerves. “I was more nervous for state finals than I have been for a lot of other large ropings. I’m just so excited to win” explained the son of 1996 World Champion Heeler, Steve Northcott. 

Northcott has had quite a young career of his own already, with appearances at the BFI, Jr. BFI, and multiple USTRC titles- albeit this first THSRA title was a special one. “It means so much to win a title as special as this, I was so excited to win it.” 

Looking forward to the Summer run, Northcutt as well as the other NHSFR qualifiers will make their way towards Gillette, Wyoming in July with their sights set on a coveted national title. The hopeful champions will also set their sights on several large youth rodeos including the WCJR and IFYR.

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