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The Shawnee News-Star
  • Rodeo downtime spent keeping it cool

  • For Skylar Southerland, summer rodeo travels are about finding a balance between focus and relaxation.

    Southerland, 16, of Pullville, Texas, spent part of Wednesday afternoon dining at Sakura Japanese Hibachi Grill and browsing the halls and shops inside the Shawnee Mall. Joining her was fellow International Finals Youth Rodeo roper Landon Blanks, 19, of Weatherford, Texas, and other, non-competing friends.
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  • For Skylar Southerland, summer rodeo travels are about finding a balance between focus and relaxation.
    Southerland, 16, of Pullville, Texas, spent part of Wednesday afternoon dining at Sakura Japanese Hibachi Grill and browsing the halls and shops inside the Shawnee Mall. Joining her was fellow International Finals Youth Rodeo roper Landon Blanks, 19, of Weatherford, Texas, and other, non-competing friends.
    “It’s so hot outside, we were just trying to find a cool place to relax,” Southerland said.
    Southerland, who is competing in barrel racing and breakaway roping on her second IFYR trip, said a good part of her summers are spent attending rodeos around the country and that she does not get to spend too much time at home. For her, traveling the rodeo circuit is kind of like it’s own vacation.
    While it’s good to get away and see new things, Southerland tries not to divert her attention too far away from the task at hand.
    “I’m up (to compete) at night, so I’m not really doing anything during the day,” she said. “We just kind of hang out and try not do anything too crazy.”
    Southerland said that in her travels, she’s always been impressed with the IFYR and the way the Shawnee community embraces the rodeo participants each year.
    “I think it’s a really good rodeo,” she said. “It’s not far, they keep a really good stock and it’s run really good, too. And it pays well, too.”
    Southerland, who will be in Shawnee until Friday, said most of her downtime is spent keeping a low profile around the rodeo grounds before she’s set to compete and staying cool from what has often been blistering sunshine at this week’s event.
    Southerland and Blanks said they haven’t made any other plans to do things in Shawnee while they’re here, other than, as Blanks said, laughing, “make money and win.”

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