Little rodeo superstar Wylee Mitchell, 8, of Pioche, held a raffle fundraiser to raise money for her entry into the Little Britches rodeo in Pueblo, Colo.

Wylee Mitchell calls out the name of a winner in a raffle fundraiser that helped raise money for her entry into a national rodeo competition. Ryan Stever assisted in the drawing. (Rachel Williford photo)

On July 11, little rodeo superstar Wylee Mitchell, 8, of Pioche, held a raffle fundraiser to raise money for her entry into the national competition of the Little Britches rodeo in Pueblo, Colo., July 22 through 27.

Wylee currently ranks first in the standings for her division, Little Wranglers, comprised of contestants ages eight and under. She has the top scores in pole bending, barrel racing, goat untying and flag racing, and is leading by 20 points. Wylee says barrel racing is her favorite event.

Next year, Wylee will still be considered in the Little Wrangler division as her birthday falls just after the cutoff date into the Juniors.

Around two dozen spectators were live for the event. With the help of her family and friends, Wylee was able to raffle off 18 different prizes to the lucky winners. Prizes included items such as a custom-made cowboy hat by Wylee’s father, Chaz Mitchell, a hat and coat rack, a fire pit, and a pheasant hunt. Local businesses Eagle Valley Resort and Wright’s Country Cabins donated overnight stays at their establishments, as well as the Eureka Casino, which her mother, Rita Cheeney, said, “was really nice for them to donate two years in a row.”

Many handmade prizes like a quilt and wallets made of duct tape were also donated, along with chocolates, a manicure and pedicure from a local beautician, hair products, a gift card, golf package and photo package.

The selected winners who were not present received a call from Wylee, informing them they won in her raffle. Cheeney said there were so many great prizes, they couldn’t figure out a “grand prize,” so they let the winners choose from the list.

All together, Wylee was able to raise $2,000 to $2,500 to cover her expenses. Cheeney said, “The entry fees alone totaled $1,200.” Cheeney said the rest will help cover some of the costs for their RV spot, horse stall, gas and food.

The family plans to leave for Colorado on July 19, and come back a national champion. Wylee will be riding Blue for this event, a quarter horse, who helped her qualify for nationals. The last time Wylee and Blue ran together, she had the fourth fastest time out of all the contestants, including the seniors.

Wylee thanks the community for all the support they’ve given, and the businesses and individuals that donated the wonderful prizes.

To learn more about the Little Britches Rodeo, or to follow Wylee’s standings, visit www.nlbra.com.