Two Okmulgee County teens are preparing to hit the national stage to showcase their rodeo skills.
Jarvis Demery and Anthony Craig, 2019 graduates of Preston High School, will be competing this summer in the National High School Finals Rodeo in Rock Springs, Wyo., July 14-20. Competitors from each state are vying for top prize money in several categories.
Jarvis and Anthony are participating in calf roping.
Jarvis is the son of Rodney and Christy Demery; and Anthony is the son of Joy Reagor and Mark Craig.
The life-long friends have been involved in some form of rodeoing since a young age.
Listening to their stories, they could almost be brothers.
“I been doing it since I was about a week old,” Jarvis said.
For Jarvis, it’s really a family affair - his father competes professionally, his grandfather was involved in rodeoing, his older brother ropes calves, his sister use to run barrels, and his younger brother ropes calves and run barrels.
Anthony, who has siblings, is primarily the one with the interest in rodeo.
Both Anthony and Jarvis also played basketball in high school and Anthony was a member of the academic team.
To make it to the national event, one must place in the top four point-wise in order to compete.
The duo will join fellow Oklahomans Ross McGuire of Webbers Falls and Chance Gleason of Elk City in Wyoming.
“They are pretty good competitors,” the pair said.
Training takes up a lot of time for Anthony and Jarvis. The pair practice constantly, sometimes over three hours in a day, but both enjoy the thrill of the sport.
“It’s a life,” they both said.
After returning from the national competition, the teens will be attending Connors State College in the fall.
Jarvis will be pursuing a career as a Veterinary Assistant while Anthony plans to get a degree in Industrial Engineering.
Competitions have taken the pair to various events where they have placed. Jarvis has competed in the Roy LeBlanc Okmulgee Invitational Rodeo, which draws thousands of spectators to Okmulgee the second week of August.
Anthony and Jarvis thank many folks for their help and support, including their parents and others on the rodeo circuit. The two also thank Ron Bever who has been a big help in their preparations over the years.
“I have a lot of people I look up too, but especially my dad,” Jarvis said.
Traveling to the competition will cost money and any donations will be thankfully accepted. A fundraising event is likely in the works before the teens head to Wyoming. With the help of family, friends, and support of the community, hopefully these two will bring a national title back to the Sooner State.
——The National High School Rodeo Association is an international, non-profit organization dedicated to the development of sportsmanship, horsemanship and character. It was created by Texas educator and rodeo contestant Claude Mullins, with the first finals held in Hallettsville, Texas, Aug. 25-27, 1949. The NHSRA membership consists of over 10,500 members from 42 states, five Canadian provinces and Australia.
Besides having high points in competitions, those selected to attend must also have passing grades in their high school subjects.