Mackenzie Huggler and her horse Rooney, members of Eatonville High School's equestrian team, will compete in a  national barrel racing tournament in Las Vegas, Nev. in December. (Dispatch file photo)
Mackenzie Huggler and her horse Rooney, members of Eatonville High School's equestrian team, will compete in a national barrel racing tournament in Las Vegas, Nev. in December. (Dispatch file photo)
Mackenzie Huggler, a member of the Eatonville High School equestrian team, will compete with her horse Rooney in the Junior National Finals Rodeo in December in Las Vegas, Nev.
They’re entered in the barrel race, an event in which the duo set district and school records during this year’s high school equestrian season. The new marks came during a Washington High School Equestrian Teams meet in Elma in March.
Huggler is among 120 competitors who qualified for the junior girls’ event in Las Vegas. They will compete for $130,000 in cash and prizes.
“This is the culmination of a lot of hard work by these kids,” said Kelly Kaminski, the event’s organizer and a two-time world champion barrel race in the Women’s Professional Rodeo ssociation.
Each competitor will run the cloverleaf pattern twice. The 20 who post the fastest cumulative times will advance to the championship round.
Kaminski said the girls, all 16 years old or younger, are from throughout the U.S. and as far away as Mexico and Australia.
“It’s super awesome to have Mackenzie competing” at the nationals, said Tira Hancock, coach of the Eatonville equestrian team.