Six young Helena-area cowboys are headed for the Junior NFR in Las Vegas, which starts Thursday in the Thomas and Mack Center.
The group consists of five guys in the seniors (12-14 years old) bareback bronc riding competition, including Helena’s Sam Petersen, Townsend brothers Kaleb and Will Nortstrom, and Toston cousins Spur Owens and J.R. Harrell.
Qualifying in the bareback and saddle bronc in the junior division (9-11 years old) is Helena’s Leighton LaFromboise.
Petersen, 14, whose parents are Pete and Tara (Clark) Petersen, attends eighth grade at CR Anderson Middle School. He qualified for nationals in the 406 youth rodeo circuit out of Phillipsburg.
Pete was a PRCA Montana Circuit steer wrestling champion and RAM National Circuit Finals qualifier from Dillon, and Tara was a local competitive barrel racer.
Kaleb Norstrom, a ninth-grader, and his younger sibling Will, an eighth-grader, are the sons of Rich Norstrom and Lisa (Solomon) Crum.
The brothers qualified for the Junior NFR at the regional finals in Rock Springs, Wyoming, when Kaleb placed third and Will finished fifth.
Lisa – who was a District 3 prep Rodeo Queen and competed in barrels, goat tying and breakaway roping – recounted how her sons have been mentored in the sport by their grandfather, Jack Solomon.
Owens and Harrell both attend school in Townsend. Their parents are NRA/PRCA bareback rider Scott and Shawna Owens, and Beau and Dani Harrell.
LaFromboise, a fifth-grader at Rossiter Elementary, qualified for nationals in the saddle bronc at Hamilton, and in the bareback at Rock Springs. At 11 years of age, he’s already a veteran of the NFR, having placed sixth in the world last year.
Leighton’s parents are Heath and Erin LaFromboise. Heath, who was a five-time NRA bareback titlist (one year-end, four finals averages), will be a pick-up man in the Thomas and Mack for the junior finals.
NOTE: There will be a fundraiser for the young cowboys on Thursday, 5-7 p.m., at Helena’s Taco John’s on Prospect Avenue.