Stephenville High School senior Maverick Harper has earned the title of one of the elite high school rodeo competitors in the country. He will travel to Rock Springs, Wyoming to compete in steer wrestling at the 66th annual National High School Finals Rodeo next month.

Harper talks about how much time he has practiced to get where he is now. "When school was going on I would go to school all morning until about 1 p.m. and then after that it was non-stop," he said. "We had two weeks after school where we practiced all day three times a day. I actually got sick a few days before (competition) from sweating and cooling off."

Before the finals Harper is staying in competition instead of taking a quick break. "I'm actually in Colorado rodeoing right now," he said. "At home there's no real competition or anything to make you get excited about it."

Harper's outlook on how he hopes to compete at the finals is simple. "I want to do the best that I can and let everything else fall how it falls. I can't beat myself," he said.

Harper says he's been trying to get this far for four years and that he's very excited. "It's a great accomplishment before I start college," he said. "My plan is to attend school at Northwestern Oklahoma State University. They gave me a full rodeo scholarship and they're a top program, so I'm excited."

The NHSFR is the world's largest rodeo and features more than 1,500 contestants from 42 states. The contestants will compete for more than $200,000 in prizes, more than $350,000 in college scholarships and the chance to be named an NHSFR National Champion. Contestants also have the opportunity to enjoy shooting sports, volleyball, dances, family-oriented activities, church services sponsored by the Fellowship of Christian Cowboys, and shopping at the trade-show.

Performances will be aired on a live broadcast online at NHSRATV.com at 7 p.m. on July 13 and 9 a.m. and 7 p.m. the following days. The Saturday championship performance will be nationally televised as part of the Cinch High School Rodeo Tour telecast series on RFD-TV.