Local youth competing at 2019 International Finals Youth Rodeo this week.

J.R. Stratford, address listed of Bronaugh, Missouri, yet with Pratt connections, won the first round of bull-riding at the 27th annual International Finals Youth Rodeo July 7-12 at the Heart of Oklahoma Exposition Center in Shawnee, Oklahoma. Stratford is participating in the world’s richest youth rodeo, hoping to win his share of more than $250,000 in prize money and championship saddles and buckles.
Stratford is the grandson of Jim and Joyce Stratford, Pratt, and attends Skyline High School when not rodeoing on the youth circuit. On Sunday, July 7, Stratford was one of only two individuals who completed a ride for score in the first round of the youth rodeo. There were 18 participants in the round, but Stratford, who pulled in a top score of 75.0, and Maverick Potter (74.0) were the only competitors about to post a score.
Stratford joins more than 825 of the top high school rodeo athletes from around the world for the 2019 IFYR. He is vying for prizes in bull riding.
During the week, contestants will compete in 10 events running simultaneously in three arenas throughout the week. Events include cowgirls barrel racing, cowgirls pole bending, cowgirls breakaway roping, cowgirls goat tying, team roping, tie-down roping, steer wrestling, bull riding, saddle bronc riding and bareback riding.
The IFYR consists of two long go-rounds and a short go. All contestants compete once in each of the long go-rounds. The top 15 averages in each event will compete in the short go finals on Friday.
“The International Finals Youth Rodeo brings phenomenal high school athletes from all over the world Shawnee, Oklahoma, each year,” said Stephanie Meiler-Gideon, interim director of the Heart of Oklahoma Exposition Center and International Finals Youth Rodeo. “The IFYR gives these athletes the chance to compete at a professional level and allows them to showcase their rodeo skills for all to see.”
The International Finals Youth Rodeo, held annually since 1993, is a 501 (c)3 non-profit organization that presents top high school athletes with a professional rodeo. The internationally-recognized IFYR is held annually at the Heart of Oklahoma Exposition Center in Shawnee, Oklahoma. The action-packed event includes hundreds of contestants vying to win more than $250,000 in prize money, competing in 10 events running simultaneously in three arenas over six days.  In 2018, more than 875 contestants and their families traveled from 34 states and Australia to participate in the IFYR.
To see up-to-date scores and news, visit IFYR.com or call (405) 275-7020.