Dec 302015

*JR Merritt
Photo courtesy of the Merritt family
Cowboy J.R. Merritt of Taylor is a top sheep rider, taking third in the National Junior Bullriding Finals in Amarillo, Texas.

By Naomi Hatch
J.R. Merritt of Taylor, the 7-year-old son of Danny and Shanda Merritt, and a dedicated cowboy, recently took third in the nation in sheep riding.
Merritt rode his way to the National Junior Bullriding Finals (NJBF) in Amarillo, Texas, and the American Youth Bullriding Finals (AYBF) in Ignacio, Colo.
At Amarillo in early November, he won the second go round and after the final round, he was third in the nation from among 35 entries at NJBF, winning two buckles.
J.R. also competed at the AYBF Nov. 19-22, in Ignacio. He went into the short go in first place, but ended up in fifth place overall, winning a buckle. “I got a bum draw,” said the young cowboy.
His wins qualify him for the Youth World Finals scheduled in August 2016 in Abilene, Texas.
Shanda explained that when J.R. started the season he was 6 and could ride sheep, but at 7 he is eligible to ride calves, and will probably be doing so next season.
J.R. also competed Nov. 28 in White Cone, where he took second in the top five ride off.