Recent Ringgold High School graduate Mathis Coley is headed to Wyoming next month for the National High School Finals Rodeo after his recent state championship title win in Perry, Ga.
The 18-year-old took first place in bareback riding at the Georgia State High School Rodeo Association Finals on June 1. The state championship came just two years after he first took up the sport.
“A buddy of mine rides saddle bronc and I came across a rigging (hand-hold) by luck and that’s really how I got started,” explained Coley, adding that he began competing in rodeos almost immediately after taking up the sport. “We practice once every two or three weeks, but we (compete at) rodeo just about every week.”
The National High School Finals will be held in Rock Springs, Wyo. on July 14-20. Coley said while he hopes to do well and perhaps even win a national title, there’s another potential prize out there waiting for him.
“I know I’ll be running with the big dogs out there,” he said, “but I’m going to do the best that I can. I’m hoping to come out of this with a chance to go do college rodeo.”
The National High School Finals Rodeo features $150,000 in cash prizes, plus an additional $375,000 in available college scholarship money. Coley said he hopes to earn some and perhaps catch the eye of schools that can provide him with even more scholarship money.
“I hope I do well enough to end up getting a college education out of it,” he added.