Maddie Branum, the daughter of Matt and Jenny Branum of Taylorville and the granddaughter of Margie (Reck) and Rich Stewart of Hillsboro, recently qualified for the National Junior High School Rodeo Finals in Des Moines, Iowa. The national event began Sunday, June 20, and will last all this week.
Branum qualified for nationals in six events: barrel racing, breakaway roping, goat tying, pole bending, team roping (partnered with Shelby Wiersma from Erie), and ribbon roping (partnered with Bronc Bogner from Arenzville).
In the Illinois Junior High Rodeo this spring, Branum was named Reserve All-Around Cowgirl. In 2020 she also qualified in the same six events, but COVID-19 cancelled Nationals. Her honors at the state event last year (when she was in sixth grade at Taylorville Junior High) were Rookie of the Year and All-Around Cowgirl.
Contestants in Des Moines this week come from most of the states, five Canadian provinces, Australia, New Zealand, and Mexico.