ROCK SPRINGS, Wyo. — East Bend’s Dylan Ray and Will McCraw are both competing in the 67th annual National High School Finals Rodeo in Wyoming, and have contributed to what could be a big win for Team Norh Carolina.
Ray and McCraw are both juniors at Forbush High School, but unlike conventional football, basketball, or baseball, rodeo has been a part of both of their lives for years. They’ve been rewarded the opportunity to compete against 41 other states, five provinces of Canada, and Australia for glory, as well as scholarship money.
Ray is making his second-straight appearance in the NHSFR, and got things started in the team roping competition, but there was a problem. While he and his partner were able to rope, there was an illegal head catch, so their time was disallowed. Ray will compete again on Friday night, but as far as his hopes to make the final round, his chances now look very bleak.
Meanwhile, fresh from his trip out to Shawnee, Oklahoma, last weekend for the International Finals Youth Rodeo, McCraw did well in his first go in Tie-Down Roping. Through performance three, McCraw is right on the cutline in 20th with a 13.15. If he stays there, he will make the final round. McCraw did not fare as well last week in Oklahoma, and judging by his time, he’s looking for a little redemption, and maybe a little money or buckle to bring back to East Bend.
North Carolina will need to pick up the pace if it wants to win in the overall standings, boys standings, or girls. They’re outside the top 23 overall, 38th in boys, and 20th in girls through performance three.
While Ray likely will not make the finals, if he and his partner can perform well during the second go, they can help the state out in rankings. The same can be said about McCraw, who certainly wants to better his time and move further away from the cutline and lock himself into the final round. His next go is scheduled for Saturday morning, so it’s likely that by then, he’ll improve his time to make the final round.
McCraw also will compete in Team Roping with Ty Worley. They had their first go scheduled for Tuesday night, and again Thursday morning. At press time, results were not yet posted.
Ryan DeCosta can be reached at 336-258-4052 or via Twitter @rsdecosta.