This time of year, most children are counting the days to Christmas.
But for one Kilgore student, this week is Christmas-come-early.
Jalyn Brazell is headed to Las Vegas this week to compete in the annual KK Run for Vegas, the Jr National Finals Rodeo Barrel Race. Brazell, 11 years old, is one of about 120 girls that will compete.
Nicknamed “J Bug,” the fifth grade student is already an old hand at her hobby. She’s in her fourth year riding, and has already earned multiple buckles.
This week, she’ll be on the national stage at the Las Vegas Convention Center.
It’s a big week for all the girls, who will each run the cloverleaf pattern twice.
The top 20 girls with the fastest two times will move on to the championship, and there, the competitor who finishes fastest will win an Exiss trailer.
Also on the line is a chance to qualify for a spot in the American Semifinals in Fort Worth in February.
“This is the culmination of a lot of hard work by these kids, and they have all earned the right to compete in Las Vegas,” said Kelly Kaminski, the event’s organizer and a two-time world champion barrel racer in the Women’s Professional Rodeo Association.
“These are all kids 16 and under, and they come from all across the country, Mexico and Australia,” said Kaminski, a five-time NFR qualifier who also was a two-time reserve world champion. “This is a great opportunity for these girls.”
Brazell and the other girls had to qualify, obviously, to make the trip to Vegas.
“This is a very exciting time for every child, every family that will be part of it,” Kaminski said. “As a former teacher, I’ve always wanted to be involved with kids, and this is a great way to tie rodeo and kids together in a championship format.”
Jaylyn is the daughter of Jenna (Paul) Brazell and the late Jonathan Brazell.
For more on the Jr. NFR, go online to kkrunforvegas.com. The News Herald will have an update on Jaylyn’s performance when she returns.