Local team ropers Wyatt Hendrix and Colby Eldred will have the home field advantage when they enter the IFYR arena this week.
Hendrix, 16, the header of the duo, attends Dale High School. Eldred, 17, the heeler, is a student at Tecumseh High School, so both will have supporters in the crowd.
They've been a team for the past year or so, but both have been roping for a lot longer than that. They also have a bit of a family history in rodeo —their mothers ran barrels together many years ago.
Hendrix, who said he learns a lot from his team-roping partner, said they ride horses and practice together often, which helps their teamwork.
Before a ride, they just resolve to do their best.
"I just clear my head, try not to react, rope and don't worry," Eldred said. "Whatever happens happens."
Hendrix will be riding his horse, L.J., while Eldred relies on his horse, Wild Thing.
"We're glad to be here," Eldred said, adding they'll do their best to "knock down three good runs."
Both are just are happy to be competing in their first IFYR.
"If we don't win a check, at least we'll have family there," Hendrix said.
Eldred, who likes to work on hot rod cars, also works part-time building storm shelters. After Oklahoma's May tornadoes, he's been busy this past couple months with that job. When he graduates high school next year, Eldred said he wants to attend OSU in Okmulgee to study toward being a diesel technician.
Hendrix said he is looking at a future career as an electrician.