Grady Edwards is in Las Vegas, Nevada, this week having the time of his life. And he’s only 13. The Sage Valley eighth-grader made the trip to compete in mini saddle-bronc riding at the Junior National Finals Rodeo after qualifying during the 2018 Campbell County Fair in August.
The journey started back in 2017, when Grady competed in a qualifying event during the county fair that was hosted by the Lazy 3S Rodeo Company. He hadn’t managed to qualify then, but it had only been his first attempt competing in any rodeo event. It didn’t matter, the little thrill seeker was hooked. When he competed at the fair this year, he qualified to compete in the regional event in Fort Pierre, SD, where he qualified to compete in the Junior NFR.
On Grady’s first ride Thursday, he was bucked off about half way through the eight-second ride.
“Tough horse, but he did really well,” said Sarah, who was unable to make the trip to Las Vegas because her 16-year-old son is recovering from a medical procedure. Grady is accompanied this week by his dad Craig, uncle Cory, and Granny Jean.
Sarah was still able to watch Grady’s ride live on the NFR Experience’s website.
“So, I joke and say I had a viewing party in my office at work,” she said. “I think he was a little disappointed he got bucked off, but there’s bucking machines all over there for kids to practice on in between. So, he’s been practicing and hopefully this next ride goes a lot better for him.”
Grady’s next ride is Saturday, between 11 a.m. and 3 p.m. and will be broadcast live on the NFR Experience.
“He’s doing great and he’s really enjoying the experience,” Sarah said.
According to the official online roster, 16 kids from Wyoming are competing in Las Vegas, including Tyson Schmezle of Gillette in bareback riding, and Kaeley Hutchison of Rozet in barrel Racing.