In 1971, fifteen adults met in Ellensburg to establish the Washington High School Rodeo Association. With the help and direction of Shirley Jennings of the Oregon High School Rodeo Association, Les Mathews of Almira conducted the very first meeting. Adult officers elected were President Roy Parvin of Pullman, Vice President Gary Mogenson of Moses Lake, and Louise Griggs of Moses Lake was selected State Secretary. The first student officers elected were President Larry Stewart of Royal City, Vice President Jim Parvin of Pullman, and Cindy Meire of Moses Lake was elected Student Secretary.
The new organization didn’t have any rodeos planned, but the FFA chapters of Kennewick, Pasco, Walla Walla and Yakima were sponsoring rodeos with the Ephrata chapter set to hold the state finals rodeo. It was decided to make these FFA rodeos into Washington State High School Rodeos. The Championship Finals Rodeo was held in Moses Lake May 7-8, 1971 with the Ephrata FFA chapter as the sponsor. A total of 88 students competed in the boys events of Bareback Riding, Saddle Bronc Riding, Bull Riding, Calf Roping, Dally Team Roping, Cow Cutting and Steer Wrestling. For the girls there was a Queen Contest, Pole Bending, Breakaway Roping, Barrel Racing, Cow Cutting, Goat Tying and Dally Team Roping. The All Around Boys Champion was Jim Parvin, and Joyce Fuller of Clarkston won the Girls All Around Championship. The first WSHSRA Queen was Joyce Sherwood of Moses Lake.
Records show the membership climbed to 225 in 1973, with 125 competing at the WSHSRA finals in Moses Lake. All Around trophy saddles were won by Gary Sutton of Ellensburg and Joyce Fuller of Clarkston. Julie Smith of Brewster won the Queen Contest. A team trophy was awarded in 1973 to the “Tri-High Rodeo Club” which consisted of Castle Rock, Mark Morris, Winlock, Cascade Jr RA Long, and Kelso High Schools. A total of 34 students from Washington State qualified to compete at the National High School Rodeo Finals in Ogden, Utah. Students from Washington winning national trophies included Pat Minor – 3rd Calf Roping, Gary Sutton – 4th Calf Roping, Gary Sutton – Pat Minor – 4th Team Roping, Nancy Lowe – 4th Pole Bending. All were from Ellensburg.
In 1974 Todd Voth, Moses Lake was voted Student President with Mitch Hutchinson of Walla Walla holding the Student Vice President position. Tracy Meier of Moses Lake was voted Student Secretary. The WSHSRA membership grew to over 300 in 1974.
The state finals rodeo was moved to Walla Walla and went from a three day show to four days of high school rodeo action. The crowds were pleased with the outstanding Kelsey and McLean Rodeo stock, as well as the enthusiasm and sportsmanship displayed by the 182 students competing in the largest state finals rodeo to date. Terrie White of Selah was chosen as the new WSHSRA Queen. Gerald Bruhn of Port Orchard was the Boys All Around winner with Connie Fletcher of Dayton winning the Girls All Around title. The Whitman County High School Rodeo Club (Colfax, Pullman, Lacrosse and St John High Schools) won the team trophy.
Tomah, Wisconsin was the destination of the 34 Washington students who qualified for the National High School Rodeo Finals. Jim Davis of Chehalis was elected NHSRA Student President, and Connie Fletcher won the first place saddle in pole bending and second place in the barrel racing.
The annual meeting of the WSHSRA was held in Yakima at the end of September 1974 with Dick Powers being elected President and Dave Odenrider of Puyallup as the new Vice President. All other officers were retained for the following year. The new Student President was Jim Davis, Chehalis, Mitch Hutchinson of Walla Walla was elected Student Vice President, and Pam Maiden of Walla Walla was the new Student Secretary.