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  • Writer's pictureCraig Richards

Restuccio secures spot in National HS Rodeo Finals


MULLICA TWP.—Gracie Restuccio, an 11th grader at Cedar Creek High School and resident of Mullica Township, has earned a coveted spot on the New Jersey state/provincial National High School rodeo team. She will join her teammates in Rock Springs, Wyoming, from July 14 - 20 to compete in the 76th annual National High School Finals Rodeo (NHSFR) in Barrel Racing and Breakaway Roping.


Gracie, who competes with the New Jersey High School Rodeo Association, showcased her talents at the NJ State Finals over Memorial Day weekend. She competed in Barrel Racing, Breakaway Roping, and Goat Tying, consistently holding the top spot in Barrel Racing with her horse, Badger. The pair solidified their dominance with two outstanding runs, securing her the 2024 State Champion title in Barrel Racing with a remarkable time of 15.87 seconds in the High School division.

The road to a state championship did not come without its challenges. During her Friday night round Restuccio knocked a barrel, adding pressure. But she delivered a fast clean run in the finals that secured the championship.


As for Nationals, Restuccio has her focus on making the short go with clean consistent runs. The pattern is bigger at the Nationals, so she looks to maintain smooth runs.


“I expect it to be a little bit more of a challenge just since it is a lot bigger, but definitely nothing that I can’t handle,” Restuccio said.


Restuccio thanked her mom, dad and entire family for their support. She also shared her appreciation for her sponsors who make it possible for her to compete at this level. Those sponsors include Joseph Continisio Builders Inc., South Jersey Well Drilling Co., Ace Oil Co., Mazza’s Flooring America, DiDonato’s Family Fun Center, Ron’s Gardens, Schenk Uniform Rentals, Mark Petter’s Construction Inc, Thackray Crane, Braided B Leather, Clark Farms, Rosedale Farms, and Mon Tack Company.


The three-day event, held at the Gloucester County Fairgrounds in Mullica Hill, N.J., saw Restuccio finish fourth overall in Breakaway Roping, earning her a spot at Nationals. She narrowly missed qualifying in a third event, finishing sixth in Goat Tying. Only the top four riders in each event qualify for Nationals.


In addition to her athletic achievements, Restuccio was elected President of the New Jersey High School Rodeo Association by her peers. She will represent the NJHSRA as President for the 2024-2025 season.


“It feels pretty crazy. I kind of just worked my way up this year. So, there’s definitely a lot of pressure. but I don’t let that get in my head. I really think that I’ll have a good chance of getting far at Nationals and representing my state,” Restuccio said.


The NHSFR, the world’s largest rodeo, will feature over 1,700 contestants from 44 states, five Canadian provinces, Australia and Mexico. Competitors will vie for more than $150,000 in prizes, over $200,000 in added money and $375,000 in college scholarships. To be named an NHSFR World Champion, contestants must finish in the top 20 based on combined times/scores in the first two rounds to advance to the final round on Saturday evening.

Champions will be determined by their combined times/scores across three rounds.


The championship performance will be nationally televised as part of the Cinch High School Rodeo Tour on RFD-TV. Live broadcasts of each NHSFR performance will be available online at www.thecowboychannel.com, starting at 7 p.m. on July 14, with competitions continuing daily at 9 a.m. and 7 p.m. through July 20. For daily results and to follow local favorites, visit NHSRA.com

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