Marty Yates, 14, is on his way to Gallup, N.M., in a few days to compete in the National Junior High Finals Rodeo after claiming the title of 2009 Texas Wrangler Junior High Tie Down Calf Roping State Champion earlier this month.

As part of the Texas Wrangler Junior High Rodeo Division, Yates competed against other sixth through eighth grade students from 10 regions in the state for a chance to compete for the state title in Gonzales, Texas, June 1-6. Only the top four in each event advance to the national competition.

In addition to Yates, three other area youth qualified in the top 10 at the state competition. Arron Callaway, from Dublin, qualified in chute dogging. Trevor Hedeman, from Morgan Mill, qualified in goat tying. Denton Halford, from Stephenville, qualified in breakaway roping.

Yates’ grandmother, Barbara Hampton, said the young boy has ridden a horse all his life and started competing at a young age. He is continuing a family tradition.

Yates’ father, also named Marty, won the Texas High School Tie Down Calf Roping title 20 years ago. His uncle Row Hampton won the Texas High School Team Roping event 16 years ago.

The national event will be in Gallup, N.M., and runs from June 28-July 4.