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The Shawnee News-Star
  • Youth to present flags at IFYR

  • The International Finals Youth Rodeo performances, July 6-11, will begin with a large dose of patriotic flare.
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  • The International Finals Youth Rodeo performances, July 6-11, will begin with a large dose of patriotic flare.
    Local youth volunteers are prepared to present flags, while riding horses, during the national anthem. Suzanne Gilbert, special events chairperson, noted seven girls and two boys would present over 11 performances.
    “There are riders at each performance, because we have three arenas, and there’s an American flag in each arena,” she said. “Most of them have experience, but I have some new riders this year.”
    Callie Sellers, 11, is one of those novice performers.
    “My parents told me about it and I thought it sounded fun,” she said.
    Another new rider, Avery Hall, is participating so she can join her sister, seasoned presenter Colby Jane Hall. Colby Jane, a third-year rider, explained, though she still gets nervous at the thought of tripping and falling, performing is her favorite part of the experience.
    “It’s an honor to be able to do this,” she said.
    Sierra Beauford, 19, is also returning to present.
    “I’ve been carrying flags since I was 12 or 13,” Beauford detailed.
    Beauford, a former four-year rodeo participant, will present flags as a non-rodeo competitor this year.
    “It’s weird,” she said. “I wish I was competing, but I enjoy volunteering and still being out here.”
    Gilbert said several volunteers would participate in the final performance.
    “Friday night, we always do something special and spectacular,” Gilbert hinted. “So, a lot of times, all of them ride. The crowd likes it.”
    Beauford expressed her anticipation for that presentation.
    “The last night, it’s the biggest thing that we do,” she said. “We have a lot more people carrying. It’s a huge performance that we do and it’s so much fun.”
    Other flag presenters are Hannah Cochran, Megan Hogan, Colten Mize, Garrett Sellers and Rylee Steward. Annie Jo Gilbert, a long-time volunteer and former performer, will support the flag presentations from the ground.
    A schedule of performance times is available at www.ifyr.com.

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