The energy was high, the stakes were high, and the price of fuel was even higher heading into the state high school rodeo finals. Colorado held their event at Moffat County Fairgrounds in Craig, CO and the Kansas folks held their finals at the Kansas Star Arena in Mulvane, KS over Memorial Day weekend. The finals involve two long rounds in which everyone gets to compete in every event that they choose. Then there is the short round which is whittled down to the top 15 in each event. The top 15 standings are the culmination of the regular season rodeos and the two long rounds. Many championships are won or lost in that final short round. Then there is the average, which awards more points than normal. People have asked me, “Do you think the horses can feel the pressure that is present in these competitions?” You darn skippy they can. Leg pressure, hand pressure, and nervous movements by the rider can easily be sensed by the horses. You have to remember the horse and rider team have spent countless hours together and are very in tune to each other.
It is not necessarily the monetary aspect that ramps up the pressure, but the goal of qualifying for the National High School Finals Rodeo to be held in Gillette, WY. All rodeoing states in the US, Canada, New Zealand, and Mexico will be heading to the Gillette Camplex July 17-23. A cowboy or cowgirl has to end up in the top 4 spots in their respective state to qualify for nationals.
Area youngsters that will be making the trip to nationals include the following: Colorado HS Rodeo Team will send Evan Bottini from La Junta who ended up 4th in the steer wrestling and Sage Bader of Kim was the team roping champion with his partner, Colton Zimmerman. The Kansas HS Rodeo Team will have Emilee Carroll of Rocky Ford qualifying in girls cutting, Justin Wright of Walsh will go in boys cutting and saddle bronc riding, Porter Hall of Springfield and partner, Jaytyn Hash of Kendall, qualified in team roping, Ally Brennaman of Deerfield will go in barrel racing, Dylan Gugelmeyer of Lakin will go in steer wrestling, and Braxton O’Bryan of Lamar will represent in tie down roping.
Seniors Justin Wright and Ally Brennaman will continue their rodeo careers at Garden City Community College under the tutelage of Coach Jim Boy Hash. Wright will be studying Ag Business. He was a member of NHS, football team, wrestling, FFA, 4H, AQHA, and National Little Britches Assoc. He enjoys riding colts and working cattle. His brother, Jacob, attends OPSU in Goodwell, OK.
Those that say money can’t buy happiness don’t know where to buy a horse.