Courtesy of NFR Experience
After a three-month promotion, performers have been selected by fans to sing the national anthem at the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo in Las Vegas.
The Wrangler NFR will kick off on Thursday, Dec. 1 and run through Saturday, Dec. 10. The Wrangler NFR National Anthem Contest launched on Aug. 1. There were two categories for aspiring performers to choose from: open and youth. From there, an initial fan vote narrowed the list to the Top 10 and a panel of judges narrowed the list to the Top 3 youth entries and Top 6 open entries.
From Sept. 26 through Oct. 6, fans voted on their selection of choice in the two categories. The top youth entry was selected and the top three open category vote recipients were selected to perform at the Wrangler NFR in Las Vegas. Molly Gaynor was the youth winner, while Allie Burgett, Lerin Thomas and Nick Neu were the open category winners.
A 22-year-old native of Brewster, Wash., Allie Burgett has been performing the National Anthem at events since high school. Her favorite events have always been rodeo and other sporting events, including the Omak Stampede and World Famous Suicide Race, as well as the Seattle Mariners. It has been her goal for several years now to perform at the Wrangler NFR. While running the woodwork business she started in high school, Burgett is currently in her senior year at Gonzaga University in Washington State and will be graduating in May of 2017.
Raised on a ranch in Powell Butte, Ore., 11-year-old Molly Gaynor is in fifth grade and attends Powell Butte Community Charter School. She has been singing the National Anthem at rodeos since she was six and competing in them as well. Along with her younger sister, Mattie, they compete in breakaway roping, barrels, poles and goat tying. Gaynor loves working with the horses and cows on her family’s ranch and someday wants to become a veterinarian. She feels thankful and very humbled that so many people voted to give her the chance to sing her favorite song at the Wrangler NFR.