COLUMBIA — Jarrel Hewit got started in the rodeo at the age of 10. At 16 he won his first calf roping competition. Now 18, he comes to the state competition looking to advance to nationals in Farmington, N.M.
Hewit competes year-round in rodeos across the Midwest, and has taken away several awards. On Thursday night at the Missouri High School Rodeo, Hewit was participating in his lone event of calf roping.
"I'm definitely here to try and win and advance to nationals, but I come into this rodeo like any other rodeo, by competing and doing my best, but having a good time while I'm out there," Hewit said.
Hewit, from the St. Louis area, looks at rodeo with a career in mind. Some say he is pursuing a very realistic chance at going pro in the rodeo business.
"Jarrel's a real good cowboy. He can rope a calf about as fast as anyone I've seen at this level," said Seth Connor, long-time rodeo frequenter and announcer. "He's got a great chance, if he keeps with it, to make it to the pro level."
Rodeo professionals must earn a permit and $2,000 from competitions, rodeo judge Bill Ransom said. But Hewit knows becoming a pro isn't that easy.
"It takes a lot of hard work, dedication and talent to become pro in this sport, just like in any other sport, the only difference is the amount of money needed through money and sponsors."
Hewit has already earned a full rodeo scholarship to Northeastern Oklahoma A&M College.
In Thursday's competition, Hewit came in second with a calf roping time of 9.63 seconds. The competition continues through the weekend and concludes Saturday night at Boone County Fairgrounds.
"I just love the competition and thrill that the rodeo provides and I want to be able to continue to carry that on in the great sport of rodeo," he said.