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Local cowboys win youth rodeo world title

Ethan Parr, left, and Junior Dees, pose for a photo after claiming the National Little Britches world championship in July in Pueblo, Colo. (Submitted photo)

Ethan Parr admits he was a little nervous heading into the National Little Britches Finals Rodeo.

Parr, who is entering his junior year at Mitchell High School, had every right to be. He didn’t know what to expect because it was his first time competing in the national finals. Still, he overcame his fears and left the NLBFR a world champion in team roping on July 25.

“It just took me awhile to clear my head,” he said. “I told myself what I had to do. I saw our competitors be nervous and not do as well as they could.”

Parr competed with Junior Dees, of Aurora, and the pair finished with the fastest average time to take home first place at the national finals. Parr said the two are good friends and the two rope together often.

Prior to the national finals, they practiced every day they could. Dees and Parr had a short-go average of 6.3 but received a five-second penalty for only legging one of the steer’s feet.

With the five second penalty, they finished with a final average of 11.3. The pair finished atop the leaderboard in the world standings with a host of top-five finishes during the competition, held July 22-25, in Pueblo, Colo. The two-man team finished atop the leaderboard in first-go average. They recorded the second-best overall time during first-go as well. Parr and Dees continued their hot streak on the final night of competition, recording the fourth fastest time overall and finishing with the second-highest average.

“It was really tough competition and knew we had to do the best we could in order to do well,” said Parr, who was the header, or the person responsible for roping the front of the steer, while the heeler ropes the steer by its feet. “I liked being in the last performance, because we knew what we had to beat. It gave us more motivation to do better and we tried to beat most of them.”

The duo beat out more than 100 teams to earn the crown of world’s best.

Parr and Dees earned 420 points at the national finals, which brought their final tally to 760 points, good enough for the top spot in the world. Coming into the national finals, 20 teams sat in front of Parr and Dees 20 in the world standings, but Parr said they moved up the board because they kept making strong runs.

“I knew it would be close,” Parr said. “We still had a shot and had our fingers crossed. Later that night they posted who won. My heart skipped a beat a little bit and I was really happy. ... We’re going to try to win again next year.”

In order to make the finals, Parr and Dees had to compete in five top rodeos, finishing seventh or better in four of the five. The most points a team can earn in the five rodeos is 350, the two cowboys amassed 340 points before the finals. In the five rodeos they competed in to qualify, they finished first four times and second once. They each took home a saddle and buckle for their world championship victory. They also received a $500 scholarship, a certificate for feed and a free pair of boots.

— Daily Republic Sports Editor Brooke Cersosimo contributed to this story