SHAWNEE, Okla. — East Bend’s Will McCraw is in Oklahoma, and he’s making a name for himself on the big stage.
McCraw traveled more than 1,000 miles west to Shawnee to compete in the International Finals Youth Rodeo. The rodeo is one of the largest in the country in terms of competitors and the amount of states, countries, and provinces involved.
While the rodeo started on July 5, McCraw’s competition did not start until the second day on Monday night with Team Roping. If he wants to make it to the final round on Saturday, he needs to average in the top 15 throughout each event. McCraw delivered on night one, teaming up with Jake Edwards of New York to finish tied for fifth through three performances. Together, they combined for a 7.0 score.
McCraw also competes in the calf roping competition, but has yet to post a score in the competition. As of Monday night, only seven people had posted scores in the calf roping competition, most notably, Clay Futrell of Union Grove, just a few miles south of East Bend.
With the IFYR being one of the largest in the country, it’s the world’s richest youth rodeo, with more than $200,000 in prize money, saddles and buckles. Certainly, a great start for McCraw was just what he needed to put him in a good position to make the final round. McCraw has left little doubt in his fan base that he knows how to keep his composure under pressure. Heading into his freshman year, McCraw became a world champion in the AQHYA World Championship Show back in 2013.
Ryan DeCosta can be reached at 336-258-4052 or via Twitter @rsdecosta.