Young rider off to nationals in Oklahoma

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Carson Gracia, an 8-year-old Sonora resident, will be an honorary Okie from Muskogee when he takes part in the National Junior Bull Riding Association finals this week.

The son of Dave and Kelly Gracia, Carson will compete Friday through Sunday in Muskogee, Okla., the town immortalized in country song by the legendary Merle Haggard.

Carson qualified for the nationals by winning the Northern Region championship of the California Junior Bull Riding Association and then placing fifth in the state finals in Springville (near Visalia). The top 10 state finishers made it to Muskogee.

Before the state finals, Carson took five firsts and two seconds in rodeos around Northern California.

He isnt actually riding bulls yet, but rather is competing in calf riding.

Competition starts at age 4 in mutton busting, then progresses by age through calf riding and steer riding on up to the real thing bull riding through age 18.

Carson is a third grader at Summerville Elementary School in Tuolumne.

He main sponsor this season is Producers Dairy.

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