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Two times state champion in two months

FARMINGTON — Chloie Thomas of Farmington made her dream come true when she was crowned Miss Arkansas High School Rodeo 2024-2025 on June 8 at Four State Fair Grounds in Texarkana.

Thomas is making a habit of winning state titles.

Thomas played a backup role as a junior catcher for Farmington’s Class 4A state championship softball team. She played in 16 games and batted .286 with 10 hits in 35 at-bats. She batted in 9 runs, scored 4 runs, walked 7 times and was credited with one sacrifice hit.

Thomas’ cowgirl skills help in playing softball.

“Just communicating and having those relationships because we have a big relationship with our whole team right now,” Thomas said after the Lady Cardinals defeated Gentry 3-0 in the state semifinals in Gravette on May 11. “Even though I’m not right now I enjoy seeing our whole team on the field and trying to do their best.”

On the other hand, softball repetitions have their place when it comes to rodeo, a sport in which horse and rider work together in physical training. Thomas points to, “A lot of running and training and then just bonding with our team and learning that we can lean on each other when we need to,” as essential to success.

Going into the softball state finals facing Pea Ridge, a team Farmington had defeated twice before, Thomas predicted the team was laughing at an opportune moment.

“It’s a big responsibility for us. We’ve been working on this all year and it’s finally all coming together,” Thomas said. “We learn how to play with each other and we learn how to communicate with each other and just have fun while playing the game competitively.”

She and her teammates rose to the task, defeating Pea Ridge 6-5 in the Class 4A State Finals May 17 at Farris Field on the campus of the University of Central Arkansas in Conway.

Three weeks later, Thomas added the rodeo state crown.

One of the perks of winning such a title is wearing custom chaps and Thomas celebrated this with a post on social media: “Thank you Travis Minnie and Brandye from TBarM Leather Works for my custom chaps! They went above and beyond my expectations. I can’t wait to wear these in Wyoming at nationals.”

Thomas will represent the “Natural State” at the 76th annual National High School Finals Rodeo Queen parade held in conjunction with the rodeo competition at the Sweetwater Events Complex, in Rock Springs, Wyo., July 11-20.

As Thomas competes for the title of National High School Rodeo Queen, the rodeo is expected to draw 1,650 finalists, including the top four athletes from 44 states, five Canadian provinces, Australia, Mexico and New Zealand in 16 NHSFR events competing for a world championship title.

Thomas represented Farmington High School at the Arkansas High School Rodeo Finals June 5-9 and competed in several rodeo events, including breakaway roping, goat tying, barrel racing and pole bending, in addition to the queen competition.

Thomas made the short go in all events except barrel racing, and won reserve champion of the intermediate goat tying final, just missing qualifying for the national championships as a rodeo competitor by a few points. Her softball commitments caused her to miss a few regional rodeos, but she’s not complaining.

Farmington softball coach Jason Shirey went out of his way to make Thomas’ dual activities possible, something the cowgirl appreciates.

“A lot of coaches would have said this is too much and made me choose one or the other, but he didn’t,” Thomas said. “He was very supportive of it all. I had to miss a number of softball games, not only for the rodeo, but also for the horse judging.”

In addition to competing for more than $150,000 in prizes and more than $200,000 in additional funding, NHSFR participants will also compete for more than $375,000 in scholarships and the chance to be named NHSFR World Champions. To earn this title, competitors must finish in the top 20 – based on their combined times/scores in the first two rounds – to advance to Saturday night’s final round. World Champions will then be determined based on their combined times/scores over three rounds.

For rodeo fans and competitors, it’s a chance to see the action and experience top-notch rodeo competition and a chance to meet new friends from around the world. NHSFR participants have the opportunity to enjoy volleyball, participant dances, family-oriented activities, church services sponsored by Golden Spur Ministries and shopping at the NHSFR trade show.

Those interested in sponsoring Thomas can contact her through the official Facebook page of her title, Miss Arkansas High School Rodeo.