Oklahoma is well-represented in the National Circuit Finals Rodeo at State Fair Arena.
The Oklahoma contestants are bulldogger Stockton Graves of Newkirk; barrel racer P.J. Burger of Pauls Valley; team ropers Destry Graham of Sallisaw, Jimmy Thomas of Hodgen, Hunter Munsell of Arnett and Derrick Jantzen of Ames; bull rider Guthrie Murray of Miami; barrel racers Tana Renick of Kingston and Carlee Pierce, formerly of Freedom; and tie-down ropers Hunter Herrin and Bryson Sechrist, both of Apache.
Graves, Burger, Herrin and Pierce are National Finals Rodeo veterans. Herrin is a six-time qualifier, while Pierce has earned trips to Las Vegas, each of the past two years.
BACK HOME AGAIN FOR PIERCE
For Carlee Pierce, qualifying to the National Circuit Finals Rodeo is like returning home.
The Canadian-born barrel racer lived in Freedom for most of her life until she and her husband, Steve, moved to Stephenville, Texas, in the fall of 2011.
“It's always nice to be able to go back to a place that was home for so long,” she said. “That's a place that always feels more comfortable.
“When you go back to Oklahoma and you're from Oklahoma, everybody gets excited about it.”
Pierce finished the 2012 campaign second in the world standings in barrel racing, earning $79,802 at the National Finals Rodeo and finishing the season.
MUNCY OFF TO A FAST START
One of the most recognizable cowboys competing this week at State Fair Arena is Taos Muncy of Corona, N.M.