By Siri Stevens courtesy IFYR — Photo courtesy IFYR by Siri Stevens, Rodeo News
Traci Nelson from Wildwood, Florida, is a force to be reckoned with in the pole bending. She is sitting ninth overall after the first round at the International Finals Youth Rodeo. She competes in breakaway roping, pole bending and barrel racing.
Traci’s pole bending horse is a 15-year-old grade mare she calls “Falena.”
“She’s the type of mare you would look at and not even give the time of day,” Nelson said.
Traci has owned and ridden the mare for five years, but this mare came to them with a winning record of her own. She is the past Tennessee high school state pole bending champion.
The International Finals Youth Rodeo is held in Shawnee, Oklahoma, the second week of July every year.
“It’s hot and humid here but I wouldn’t miss this rodeo for anything,” Nelson said. “The completion is next to none and I always have fun.”
She just missed nationals, so her main goal is to make the short-go here at Shawnee. She has qualified for the National High School Finals Rodeo for the past three years.
“The cards just haven’t been in my favor here at Shawnee in the past, but I hope my luck is starting to turn around,” she said.
The senior at The Villages Charter School is going to Tarleton State University and plans to rodeo and study biomedical science.
“I would like to thank Seth Rodriguez and Boo Flournoy,” she said. “Seth is the one who helped sharpen my roping and be more consistent and Boo helps me turn my barrel horse, without them I wouldn’t be here.”