(Lead picture provided by Jeri Weeks)
By Jeremy McDonald
STAYTON, Ore.– In just a few weeks from today, Stayton’s own Charlie Weeks is traveling to Gillette, Wyoming for the National High School Finals Rodeo, part of the National High School Rodeo Association, in July of this year.
For the 2016 Stayton graduate, Weeks is excited to be taking part of the event that is entering its 68th year, featuring some of the best athletes from 43 States in the United States, five Canadian providences and Australia.
“I’m extremely excited to be competing at the National Finals,” said Weeks. “I feel very grateful for the opportunity. I’m not nervous about competing at this level. I feel like I have worked hard and deserve to be in the position I am in.
“I only went to high school rodeos my junior and senior year and I just missed qualifying for National Finals last year.”
He was determined to make the finals this year, and he feels pretty confident as he looks ahead to the competition with those members of the Washington State team.
Weeks described this determination and confidence with the sport of rodeo and the craft that he’s been working on with Steer Wrestling and Team Roping as hard work and sacrifice.
“With this year being my last year of high school I was very determined to qualify for Wyoming,” said Weeks. “The sport of rodeo is very important to me, I have put a lot of time and effort into rodeo and plan to use rodeo as a career in the future.
“I feel good about my chances in Wyoming and I think that I can be competitive there.”
Now why Washington and not Oregon? Weeks has a nephew, Taylor Speer, that is competing up in Washington and Charlie wanted to compete with him.
Mother Jeri Weeks said that Speer and son Charlie Weeks might be the only uncle-nephew team in the finals; but Jeri is happy to see how Charlie got to this point of his career.
“We are so proud of him, his work ethic and passion,” said Jeri Weeks. “He loves the sport of rodeo and has worked since he was a little boy to get to this level. He loved football and basketball, but rodeo has always been his priority. He works hard to be competitive and really drives himself.
“He would come home from football and basketball practice and head to the barn. He almost always has a rope in his hand and if you’re not paying attention, you will get roped.”
To see his career come to a close, it’s a bitter sweet ending to something that Jeri and the rest of the Weeks clan to see Charlie’s rodeo career come to a close.
They are happy that he gets to finish up his career, but are sad that it’s coming to an end.
“On one hand we are so excited for him to compete at this level. It’s great to see his hard work and dedication pay off. One the other hand, we are sad to see his last year of high school come to an end,” started Jeri Weeks. “We’ve spent so many weekends sitting in the grandstands rooting for him in football, basketball, and rodeo.
“We’ve tried to make sure he always had good horses and cattle for practice, driven thousands of miles and celebrated his success and helped him learn from his failures. We’re really going to miss all of it. Charlie is a really great kid, kind, fun, and has lots of rodeo dreams. We can’t wait to see what the next chapter brings.”
For one last time, on July 17-23 at 7pm and 9am to 7pm the days afterwards, Jeri Weeks will get to see her son in Charlie and her grandson in Taylor compete together one last time in the arena.