Story by NHSFR
ROCK SPRINGS – A leader has a certain look about them. They carry themselves in a professional and confident manner, dressed to the nines, without a doubt, noticeable.
The National High School Finals Rodeo (NHSFR) has thousands of leaders, but they dress a little differently. Ariat boots that have seen dirt in just about every state, starched (extra heavy) Cinch jeans and shirts, Gist Silversmiths buckles shined, and an American Hat to top the look off.
While this may sound like the average cowboy or cowgirl, you probably ask what it is that makes them stand out. Well, it’s the limited edition Carroll Original Wear trophy jacket, which every NHSFR qualifier and contestant has the chance to proudly strut around.
“One thing about a jacket, is you can see it. It’s a walking billboard,” said Chad Fairchild, Carroll Original Wear Vice President. “It allows those kids to be able to impress upon people that they’ve worked hard to get here. They are the top four in each event from each state or province. It’s truly impressive.”
Carroll Original Wear is the official merchandiser and trophy jacket sponsor for National High School Rodeo Association (NHSRA). An industry leader in manufacturing and distributing finished leather in the United States, their leather jackets are the best available on the market.
The demand for the custom qualifier jackets is high as contestants formed a long line in hopes to be the first to wear this year’s unique design.
“There’s a race to get here to get them because we bring a limited amount to finals. Everyone else won’t get their jacket till the fall,” said Fairchild.
Each competitor’s jacket boasts the events they qualified in, as well as their name. Qualifier jackets are customized for each contestant.
“I’m proud to make Nationals. It’s really great to be able to show that,” said team roper and steer wrestler, Trey Eurdie.
Manitoba, Canada Cowgirl, Gabrielle Fouillard had a rough beginning to her season, but she pulled through in the spring and finished second in her province in the barrel racing.
“The most exciting part to wear one of these jackets is to tell people you made it to NHSFR. It makes you more noticeable,” said Fouillard. “I have my jacket from last year too and when I wear it at home people will stop and ask me about it. To have a collection from each year you qualify is neat. It’s really awesome to have their (Carroll Original Wear’s) support in what we do here.”
Carroll Original Wear strives to be partners for profit with NHSRA, but not necessarily meaning monetarily. They want to win their way in, building a relationship with contestants, as part of the rodeo family.
“The thing with these kids is this is our future,” said Fairchild. “When we say we are partners for profit we aren’t necessarily meaning money. We are meaning the opportunity to be in the lives of these families and for it to be profitable for them.”
Fairchild considers sponsoring NHSRA to be very prestigious.
“To walk out there in the world’s largest rodeo on dirt and see your banners fly and flags going around in the arena; It’s a feeling that makes the hairs stand up on your arms,” said Fairchild. “I’ve been seeing it for many years and I get the same feeling every performance. The appreciation you get from these kids with the “Yes sir and yes ma’am,” the national anthems sung every night, and a prayer are all part of what makes it special.”