Rodeo means family tradition to Campbells

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

When it comes to rodeos, it's a family affair for the Buster Campbell family of Black Oak. Three generations of Campbell women have qualified and competed in national rodeos. On July l7-23, Kyley Campbell and niece Kenzley Wilson will continue the tradition in Gillette, Wyo., at the 63rd Annual High School Finals Rodeo (NHSFR).

Kyley Campbell

The former Linda Browning Campbell, mother of Kristy Wilson, Katey and Kyley Campbell, and grandmother of Kenzley Wilson, first competed as a Westside High School student in the summer of 1969 in Fargo, N.D. Buster and Linda's oldest daughter, Kristy Campbell Wilson, was named Arkansas High School Rodeo Queen in 1995, and competed in nationals in Gillette, Wyo., ironically the same location where daughter Kenzley Wilson will compete.

The Campbell's second daughter, Katey, competed in nationals in 2007-2008 and 2008-2009 in Farmington, N.M.

Kyley Campbell, who reached the finals in last year's nationals, will compete in both barrel racing and pole bending while Kenzley Wilson will be making her national rodeo debut in the barrel racing competition.

Kenzley Wilson

"All of our girls have been riding since they were around four years of age," said Linda Campbell. "When Katey and Kyley were two and one, we led them around on ponies. The ponies were our strollers. All the girls have been competing most of their lives. It's something we love to do."

The event will feature over 1500 contestants from 41 states, five Canadian Provinces plus Australia. The National High School Finals is the world's largest rodeo. In addition to competing for over $200,000 in prizes, NHSFR contestants will also be competing for more than $350,000 in college scholarships and the chance to be named the National High School Rodeo National Champion. To earn this title, contestants must finish in the top 20 after two Go-Rounds of intense competition before advancing to Saturday night's championship performance.

Along with great rodeo competition and the chance to meet new friends from around the world, NHSFR contestants have the opportunity to represent their team in a volleyball tournament, enjoy nightly contestant dancing, participate in a talent contest, compete in an NRA rifle shooting competition, test their skills in a knowledge bowl competition, have the chance to shop the ever popular NHSFR western tradeshow, and visit the historical attractions of the Cowboy State.

"My goal is to make it back to the finals," said Kyley Campbell, who graduated from Riverside High School in May. "This will be my last chance. I have always had someone going with me to competition. Before, it was Katey and now it's Kenzley. I am really looking forward to it. We have worked very hard. We competed in around 12 rodeos, accumulating points in order to advance to nationals."

"I am very excited to be going to nationals," said Kenzley Wilson. "This is a big honor. We've been doing this our whole lives and have been working very hard. I want to help carry on the family tradition and I hope to do well in my event."

The National High School Finals Rodeo will air on RFD-TV. Viewers are advised to check for possible schedule changes and other times when the 2011 NHSFR telecast will air. In addition, viewers can catch all of the NHSFR action live via as an audio web cast.

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