National Junior High and High School Rodeo Association members dropped off 19 handcrafted pieces for the 2022 Western Lifestyle Trade Craft Showcase.
For the third year in a row the entries for the Western Lifestyle Trade Craft Showcase presented by Western Horseman did not disappoint. A total of 19 pieces were entered with nine states represented in the contest. Categories for this year were broken down into Art, Tack & Equipment, Fashion and Craftsmanship. Western Horseman presented a total of $6,750 in scholarships to the winners in each category, as well as to two overall champions.
New for this year, Western Horseman partnered with Art of the Cowgirl to be a guest judge as well as to present all participants with tickets to their January 2023 event.
- Overall Grand: Emma Arndt
- Overall Reserve: Isabella Manning
- Art 1st: Charlie Wright
- Art 2nd: Tava Sexton
- Craftsmanship 1st: Drew Clukey
- Craftsmanship 2nd: Cooper Langston
- Fashion 1st: Emma Arndt
- Fashion 2nd: Meg Robards
- Tack & Equipment 1st: Charlie Wright
- Tack & Equipment 2nd: Kylie Higgs
Painted skull by Drew Thomas — “The skull I used was from a steer we raised and butchered on our ranch. I cleaned the skull up before painting it. I hand drew it all and then painted it. I thought the scene was ‘western’ and would be a good fit for the showcase. The whole process took me about a week and about two days to paint it.” Drew Thomas is a sophomore from Indiana. This piece is for sale for $250.
Rope cross by Lily Sexton — “This rope cross was made from old ropes we had. I chose to do the blue & pink because I liked the colors. The steer head concho adds some sparkle. It took me many hours to make this and get it to lay right. It will make a great Western wall art piece and remind us to keep our faith in Jesus.” Lily Sexton is a 7th grader from South Dakota.
Painted skull by Isabella Manning – “This is an acrylic hand painted skull. I took inspiration from my grandfather’s ranch in Nevada.” Isabella Manning is a senior from Idaho.
Wire wreath by Curdell Laughery – This wire wreath is made by Curdell Laughery, a senior from Montana. It is listed for sale for $800.
“Man’s Best Friend” by Audrey Fagg – “My drawing ‘Man’s Best Friend’ was inspired by my red heeler Brock. I created this piece to challenge my skills. It is referenced from a photo I took of him smiling while he was playing with his partner a month before she passed away. This drawing symbolizes the bond, happiness and loyalty between dog and owner.” Audrey Fagg is a junior from Indiana.
Painting by Meg Robards – “This NHSFR was the first time I had the opportunity to see the beautiful scenery even along the highways. I was inspired by the melding of the past and the future with giant modern windmills dotting fields still full of cows with traditional windmills powering old water tanks.” Meg Robards is a junior from Kentucky.
Earrings by Charlie Wright – “The first piece I have are silver stud earrings that I engraved and soldered on the backs. The dangles are copper earrings that I engraved.” Charlie Wright is a senior from Nevada. These pieces are for sale: the stud earrings are listed for $75 and the dangle earrings are listed for $50.
“Ruling the Roost” by Tava Sexton – “I enjoyed making my rooster with the bright colors. The Rooster is standing proud at his roost.” This acrylic 12″x16″ painting is by Tava Sexton. Tava is a freshman from South Dakota.
Tack & Equipment
Leggings by Emma Arndt – “I knew I wanted to inlay flowers and incorporate butterflies. I couldn’t decide between tulips or roses, but when I was working on a custom order the green hide wasn’t big enough so I decided to use it for these and also decided to inlay roses so that I could make the green go well with black, white and red.” Emma Arndt is a sophomore from Kansas. The leggings measure 23″ at the thigh, 14″ at the knee and 38″ at the outseam. The are listed for sale for $2,000.
Muletape Halters and Breastcollar by Kylie Higgs – “I make muletape halters and breastcollars. In 2020, when COVID hit, I decided to start my halter business. I have learned more and more about what makes them better, and now I make more difficult things, such as breastcollars.” Kylie Higgs is an 8th grader from Illinois.
Spurs by Charlie Wright – “The piece that I have made are a steel base with sterling silver and copper chevron. Then there is a buffalo nickle with a copper rope edge.” Charlie Wright is a senior from Nevada.
Tooled Holster by Meg Robards – “I made this holster for myself after my dad gifted me my first .22 pistol. The card numbers aren’t a winning hand, but they are my high school rodeo back number.” Meg Robards is a junior from Kentucky.
Leather Purse by Audrey Wright – “This is a fine leather piece of art. A handcrafted beautiful purse with a buck stitched edge, hand cut fringe. This three tone purse has a handcrafted copper concho, made with hours of work and dedication. This purse is a representation of pride in the Western industry and our long-lived Western heritage.” Audrey Wright is a freshman from Nevada. This piece is for sale for $400.
Custom Fashion Belt by Emma Arndt – “[The customer] gave me an idea of what she was wanting with the thickness and floral pattern and also told me she likes hummingbirds. After I added their brand there was some free space so I added the butterfly.” Emma Arndt is a sophomore from Kansas.
Custom Jacket by Meg Robards – “My mom has always loved Chris LeDoux, and I grew up listening to all his classics. This jacket was inspired by the song ‘Bareback Jack.'” Meg Robards is a junior from Kentucky.
Jewelry by Kelsey Breen & Tori Elam – Kelsey Breen and Tori Elam are best friends who rodeo together in Illinois. We started out beading necklaces and all of our friends wanted them so we started selling them at rodeos. Kelsey and Tori are 8th graders from Illinois. These pieces are for sale for $5 necklaces and $4 for earrings.
Custom Dog Crate by Drew Clukey – “This piece is made of lumber milled up on our property 15 years ago in Alabama. The top is made of pecan wood milled up from a good friend of mine. This is also my first project on the new set of tools my dad bought me.” Drew Clukey is a senior from Alabama. The piece is listed for sale for $275.
Coffee Table by Cooper Langston – “I got this piece of dark walnut from a family friend. I had a dream of making a coffee table for my grandpa, but he passed away before I could give it to him. The blue rocks are aquarium rocks. I picked these specific rocks because my grandpa loved to fish and the blue and brown of the wood reminded me of a day at the lake.” Cooper Langston is a junior from Illinois. This piece is listed for sale for $400.
Rope Cross by Tava Sexton – “I decided to make this rope cross to represent my faith in Jesus and repurpose old ropes. I added a piece of angora and a cactus concho to add some eye appeal. I really enjoyed making this and giving an old rope new hope.” Tava Sexton is a freshman from South Dakota.
Click here to learn more about the Western Lifestyle Trade Craft Showcase.