The team is made up of students from Cherokee High School, as well as a home-schooled student from Woodstock.
Matthew Bearden, a 2014 Cherokee graduate, finished fifth in the state in bull riding and will represent the area in the national competition.
Also advancing to the national competition is Megan Harden, a home-schooled student from Woodstock who placed sixth in barrel racing.
Clay Pannell, a rising senior at Cherokee, made his second trip to the state finals. In 2013, he placed in the top four in bull riding and advanced to the national competition.
This season, though, he wasn’t able to match the feat and finished seventh. Pannell, however, plans to return for his senior year.
Cherokee sophomore Macade Calliouet made his first trip to the state competition and placed ninth.
Also competing in the state championships in bull riding, but not advancing to the finals, were seniors Payton Jones Brooks and Lance Daniel.
Other members of the team include freshmen Cierra Cagle (barrels), Hannah Bearden (breakaway roping) and Jacob Little (bull riding), sophomores Claire Alexander (barrels) and Kaley Bennett (barrels) and senior Justin Clark (bull riding).
Angie Pannell, who helps organize the team’s efforts, said she is happy to see interest in the team continue to grow, and to see current members continue their development.
“This is our second year as a high school team, and the kids are growing, learning and moving forward,” Pannell said. “The way they back each other is amazing and refreshing. “(I’m) looking forward to next year when we have some more new additions.”
The state association is affiliated with the National High School Rodeo Association, which is comprised of 41 states, five Canadian provinces and Australia. More than 500 students participated in the state championship, and more than 1,300 will be at the national championship.