OUR VISION: Enriching the lives of our student athletes by preserving our Western heritage through the sport of rodeo, promoting family values and providing them with future opportunities through college scholarships.
WHO WE ARE AND WHERE WE CAME FROM
The Texas High School Rodeo Association is a 501-C non-profit organization which is the largest, most prestigious state high school rodeo association in the nation. When you get involved with THSRA, you are supporting family values, dedicated young people and scholarships.
THSRA sponsors over 125 rodeos per year throughout ten regions across Texas. The rodeo year begins in August and concludes with the Texas High School Finals Rodeo in June. It is here, at the largest rodeo in the state of Texas, where “The Elite Compete” featuring the top cowboys and cowgirls from each Region. They compete for numerous awards, scholarships as well as the coveted honor of representing the State of Texas at the National High School Finals Rodeo held each July.
THSRA began in Hallettsville, TX in 1946. The idea behind the first High School Rodeo was to encourage rural-oriented youth to stay in school and complete their studies. Students must maintain certain academic standards through out the school year in order to be eligible to compete.
DEVELOPING FUTURE LEADERS
THSRA is an independent student athletic association that requires its members to conduct themselves in an exemplary manner and abide by a strict set of rules. The organization recognizes that rodeo must not hinder a student’s schoolwork.
Students work hard all year, both academically and in the practice arena to qualify for awards and scholarships. The main focus of our organization is to increase the number and size of college scholarships to be awarded to our Seniors. For the past two years, the THSRA has given over $185,000 in scholarship money to deserving Seniors. All of the money raised, after production costs, is returned to the members in the form of awards and scholarships.
The association receives no financial assistance from local, state or federal tax-dollars. Every opportunity available to our students is because of our sponsors.
In 2004, THSRA made the decision to develop a new division of the organization called the Texas Wrangler Junior High Rodeo Division. This serves as a feeder organization to help involve younger students in the sport of rodeo. The success of this new division has been extraordinary with a membership that is approaching 700 student athletes.
"Sixty Years of Roping, Riding, and Mentorship"
By Mike Hausmann
NHSRA Media Coordinator
Like most amazing inventions and developments, the National High School Rodeo Association began as a simple, logical idea which over the course of a few short years, took shape into something quite incredible.
The effort that would eventually become the NHSRA was the brainchild of Claude Mullins, a Texas educator who was a big fan of the sport, and an even bigger fan of the youth he worked with almost every day. Mullins grew up around horses and cattle and sports of all different kinds during the 1920’s. In the 1930’s, small rodeos began to spring up in the area and he became an instant fan. In 1940, Mullins, who was employed at the time as the Deputy State Superintendent with the Texas State Department of Education, began to notice a curious behavior among some of the local boys. He noted that these energetic youths would consistently travel to the town arena each day after school to rope calves and steers. Seeing the youthful exuberance of the youngsters, and their love for the activity, made Mullins wonder why there couldn’t be a process to determine a “state champion” high school calf-roper, dogger, and other rodeo event title winner, similar to other high school sports.
On July 1, 1946, Mullins accepted a Superintendent position inHallettsville, Texas. Mullins himself had continued to rodeo whenever he had the time do so. And two of the gentlemen that he competed with regularly happened to form a special connection.
Alton Allen was a local attorney and cattle rancher in the area. Leon Kahanek was also a cattleman and a pharmacist as well. Mullins told his friends of his interest in seeing high school students excel in the sport that he loved so much, and his idea of somehow designing a championship high school rodeo competition to determine the best athletes. Mullins would always later say that high school rodeo would never had been possible without the terrific ideas, hard work and leadership of those two gentlemen.
Stacks Image 6
Since many of the rodeo contestants participated in other school sports, they often refused the prizes in order to not jeopardize their eligibility in other sports....All other state and national high school rodeos were held during the summer months in order to not interfere with regular school sports.”
Today, Claude Mullins’ dream has evolved into an organization that probably could not have been foreseen when he first saw those young boys innocently practicing their roping skills so many years ago. Mullins passed away in 1990. Yet his legacy of support for youth, and his love of rodeo, continues to have a dramatic difference in the lives of over 10,500 students in the United States, Canada, and Australia. And what was once a national finals that featured 121 entries has now grown into a National High School Finals Rodeo that features over 1,500 students on a regular basis and has become known as the “World’s Largest Rodeo.”
The creation of the NHSRA Wrangler Division in 2004 helped bring the excitement, mentorship, and thrills of rodeo to a new generation of junior high school students. And with each passing year, the Association continues to build upon its legacy of promoting the sport, while also supporting and preparing the future leaders of our society.
Mr. Mullins would be incredibly proud.
On June 20-22, 1947, the very first Texas State High School Championship Rodeo was held. It featured a total of 121 entries, with athletes competing in just two events - Tie Down Roping and Breakaway Roping. Impressively, the rodeo drew contestants from across the state of Texas. The response to the new rodeo event was staggering and before long, a large amount of interest in the high school sport was generated in other states as well. In 1948, the state of New Mexico offered a similar rodeo event and that was then followed up in 1949 by productions in Louisiana, Montana and South Dakota.
With such an amazing response across several states, the next step, naturally, was to create a National High School Rodeo. The very first national finals was organized and held in Hallettsville in August of 1949. To qualify, students had to be the winners in state rodeos, or the first four in each event entering from states where a high school rodeo had not been held.
It was also at this rodeo that the National High School Rodeo Association was officially formed. Claude Mullins was elected as the Association’s first President and Alton Allen was elected into the initial Secretary position. The men would eventually hold these positions for the first five years of the NHSRA’s existence. In 1954, though both men had been re-elected to their positions, they each decided to decline the offer in order to help encourage more individuals to get involved within the Association. Bob Russell of Fife, Texas, who would later go on to become Missouri’s National Director for twenty years, was elected into the first Student President’s position in 1949. It was also decided that the location of the National Finals would rotate among member states.
Always an educator at-heart, Mullins ensured that a precise formula for eligibility was indoctrinated into the Association.
“The rules were strict in the state and national rodeo,” he once wrote. “Each student was certified by his school principal as being a ‘regular student,’ passing his school work, of good character, and meeting the age requirement. There were no entry fees. But many valuable prizes and college scholarships were offered.