Youth Directors arrive today to attend IFR.

Among the six youth directors selected for this year’s International Finals Youth Rodeo are four young cowgirls, all from different states, and two cowboys from the same state.

The six will arrive in Oklahoma City later today to attend the annual International Finals Rodeo at the state fairgrounds. During their three-day stay in Oklahoma City, the six will meet with some of the IFR officials, will attend the rodeo performances and also will meet with Heart of Oklahoma Exposition Center personnel.

Mike Jackson, operations manager of the Expo Center here in Shawnee, will meet with the six and their parents later today upon their arrival. And he will also be with them throughout the weekend for meetings and other activities.

The six include Jocie Miser, Emporia, Kan., Katie Lackey, Ardmore, Jessica Gray, Citra, Fla., Sarah Ann Broussard, St. Martinville, La., West Smith, Emmett, Ark., and Tyler Britt, Royal Ark.

Gray is traveling the farthest distance, coming all the way from Citra, Fla., which she says is just outside Ocala. She explained she and her mother were to board a plane early today to arrive around noon in Oklahoma City.

It will be the first time for the 18-year-old senior to attend the IFR and she said this week “I’m looking forward to it. I’ve been to the College National Finals, the National High School Finals Rodeo and the Junior High Finals in addition to the IFYR, but not the IFR.”

For Gray, as the other five, this year’s IFYR in July will mark the first time for her and them to serve as youth directors. All of the 2013 youth directors have either already graduated from high school and no longer are eligible or opted not to serve another year.

Gray has competed in three previous IFYRs here in Shawnee. This year she plans to compete in breakaway roping and team roping, possibly goat tying if she makes the Bloomer Trailer team again and maybe even in the barrels, she’s not sure.

She says the six youth directors have messaged one another fairly frequently since last summer, “just seeing how everyone is doing and looking forward to being in Oklahoma City “ she added.

Britt, who is a 16-year-old junior from Royal, Ark., plans to leave there this morning with his parents for the drive to Oklahoma City. His team roping partner, West Smith, is the only other cowboy youth director.

He said Smith lives only about an hour and a half away from him, that the two have known one another since he was in the sixth grade and that the two families are close friends.

Britt, like Gray, has never attended the IFR. He’s competed in the IFYR at Shawnee the past two summers and his events are calf roping and team roping.

He noted “I’m really excited to attend the IFR. I’m ready to go,” he added.

“I’ve loved every minute of it,” is how Britt described his experience so far as a youth director.

He said he wanted to try something new when asked about his decision to become a youth director.

He echoed what Gray has to say about contact with the other directors. Saying “I try to check on the other youth directors about once a month.”

This weekend will be the first time all six directors have been together since last summer’s IFYR.