Last month, two siblings from Grant Union High School competed at the National High School Finals Rodeo in Lincoln, Nebraska.

Bailey McCracken, a sophomore, finished in the top third overall in barrel racing, an event where a horse and rider attempt to run a pattern around barrels in the fastest time.

In Bailey’s third performance on her horse, Chex, she clocked a time of 18.412, and came back in the eighth with a time of 18.162. Overall, Oregon’s Rookie of the Year finished in the top 51 out of 187 racers in the aggregate.

In her other event, girls cutting, she finished 59th overall.

Bailey said it was “really exciting” just to compete at the national level.

“It was exciting to be there with all of those people, trailers and horses everywhere,” she said. “And there was a really big crowd.”

Sam McCracken placed 72nd in boys cutting, an equestrian competition where a horse and a rider demonstrate both the horse and rider’s ability to handle cattle before a panel of judges.

Sam made his best run on his horse ever at nationals, but, in his third performance in the pattern, he turned the wrong direction, which cost him a mandatory 40-point deduction, and he was too far behind to catch up.

If he could have gotten the points back, he would have finished 37th overall. Nevertheless, Sam came back in his sixth performance and scored a 181.

Sam has taken the top spot in the state in boys cutting the last two years and second place in 2019. This was the third time he has competed at the national level.

Additionally, because of his accomplishments, Sam, a senior this year, was nominated by his peers in the National High School Rodeo Association to “Team Cinch,” for how he has carried himself both in and out of the arena.



Steven Mitchell is a reporter for the Blue Mountain Eagle. Contact him at or 541-575-0710.

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