For the first time in years, Hunter Hightower of Lipan has a little extra time on his hands in the summer.
In last week’s Texas High School Rodeo Association (THSRA) Finals in Abilene, Hightower narrowly missed qualifying for nationals in boys cutting. He finished fifth, just seven points out of the fourth and final qualifying berth.
“It kind of threw a big kick in my summer plans,” Hightower said with a chuckle.
Hightower won cutting titles at the National High School Rodeo Association Finals in 2011 and 2012. He returned to nationals last season.
It’s not as though the summer is a loss for Hightower, however. He said he is excited to join his father, Faron Hightower, in Calgary for cutting horse competition in conjunction with the legendary Calgary Stampede rodeo.
“I might get to compete. I’m not sure if I made the deadline, but it would be cool if I could,” he said.
“Either way, it’ll be fun because it will be the first time I’ll get to go up there, and it’ll be great to spend time with my dad.”
When he returns, Hightower will be busy. He’s scheduled to once again compete in the National Youth Cutting Horse Association Finals in Fort Worth.
Hightower will compete in the Senior Youth division (ages 14-18) for a third straight year. He will also be in the Youth Scholarship Competition.
In 2013, Hightower made the cut to the finals in the scholarship competition and finished second in average in the World Finals. It was his highest finish in the event.
The World Finals are July 21-23, and the scholarship portion is July 22 and 24.
Hightower, who graduated from Lipan this spring, plans to attend Texas A&M and study animal science and agricultural business. He wants to go to law school.
Lipan had a pair of top-10 finishers in Abilene as Trevor Hedeman took eighth in boys cutting.
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