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CO-ATHLETE OF THE WEEK: Bridee Ann Burks and Klarissa Neff
Local cowgirls earn big honors
Lancaster's Bridee Ann Burks (right) holds up the buckle she won after finishing fifth in the breakaway roping event at the National Junior High School Finals Rodeo in Huron, S.D. during the last week of June. Pictured with Burks is her mother, Sara.

EDITOR'S NOTE: The Athlete of the Week is a web-only feature that will publish each Thursday throughout the calendar year.

Bridee Ann Burks, Lancaster, Junior High Rodeo

Lancaster Bridee Ann Burks brought home a fifth-place finish among 103 competitors in the breakaway roping event, and also competed in goat tying and barrel racing at the the 2018 National Junior High Finals Rodeo (NJHFR) held June 24-30 in Huron, S.D.

In breakaway roping, Burks was sitting in 15th place after her first go round time of 3.24 seconds, and scored a 3.47 in the second go round to finish in the top 20 and advance to the finals.

In the finals, she ran a time of 3.61 seconds, giving her a total time of 10.32 seconds, and the fifth-best total after three runs.

Burks also finished 128th of 163 competitors in goat tying and was 119th of 177 competitors in barrel racing with a two-round time of 38.964 seconds.

Burks’ younger sister, Lainee Burks finished 33rd in goat tying at nationals with a two-round time of 19.41, was 37th in breakaway with a two-round time of 17.98, and teamed up with Trent Parr of Mondovi to finish 51st in ribbon roping with a two-round time of 43.62.

Brenna Ragatz of Cassville, teamed up with Bryce Bunting of Amherst in the ribbon roping, finishing 48th with a two-round time of 37.98 seconds. She also placed 143rd in pole bending with a two-round time of 58.961.


Klarissa Neff, Gratiot, Rodeo

     Gratiot native Klarissa Neff was recently accepted in the National Youth Cutting Horse Association Hall of Fame, something she has worked on since she was 8-years-old.

     The 20-year-old daughter of Jon and Kathy Neff, Gratiot, was one of 10 people from around the world to receive that honor. In order to be considered into the NYCHA Hall of Fame, the youth must have accumulated 50 points in cutting accomplishments, been in Top Ten Youth World Standings Finalists at Eastern (Jackson, Miss.), Denver (Colo.), or Summer Spectacular (Fort Worth, Texas) events, allow double points for World Standing and be enrolled in the Levels of Excellence Award Program or LEAP.

     Neff was able to make finals at the Summer Spectacular on a Hall of Fame horse that won $500,000 since they were unable to haul their own horse to Texas. She has even competed against the daughter of the family that owns the Wal-Mart chain.

     Neff is currently attending Northwest Mississippi Community College in Senatobia, Miss., where she is majoring in Criminal Justice with the hopes of one day becoming a lawyer. She was recently named to the Northwest Vice President’s Dean’s List for the spring 2018 semester with a 3.7 GPA.