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Luttrell also qualifies for nationals with fourth-place finish in barrel racing

LON AUSTIN/CENTRAL OREGONIAN - Kennedy Buckner makes her first turn in pole bending on Saturday during the final go round of the Oregon High School Rodeo Association State Finals. Buckner won all three go rounds in the event and won the championship. Buckner also qualified for nationals in goat tying.The Oregon High School Rodeo Association State Finals couldn't have gone much better for Crook County athletes.

With the finals held Thursday through Saturday at the Crook County Fairgrounds, local athletes made the most of their home cooking.

When the dust settled Saturday afternoon at the conclusion of the short go round, Chase Buchanan, Pacer Quire and Kennedy Buckner had wrapped up state championships, while Hope Luttrell also qualified for the national finals.

Buckner, a freshman, led the way for local athletes, winning the girls rookie of the year award, the girls all-around title, and taking first place in pole bending. Buckner also qualified for nationals with a third-place finish in goat tying as well as placing in the top 10 in both breakaway roping and barrel racing.

"It was way better than I expected coming in as a freshman," she said. "I won all three rounds of poles, and I won one round of goat tying, so it was better than I expected."

Buckner came into the state finals sitting in third place in pole bending, but her three go-round wins propelled her to the state championship.

Despite winning a go round, goat tying was more disappointing to Buckner, who came into the state finals in second place.

After placing sixth in the first go round, Buckner knew that she would have to do something special if she had any hope of winning a state championship in the event. And Friday night she delivered, winning the go round with a time of 7.01 seconds.

That win left Buckner still in contention for the average at the state finals and kept her hopes of a state championship alive.

Then Saturday, Buckner went for broke in the short go round, but things didn't quite go as planned. As Buckner dismounted, the goat swerved rapidly to the left, forcing Buckner to change directions at a full sprint. Then, she tried too hard to make up time and bobbled in her first attempt at a tie. Buckner still finished with a quick enough time to finish sixth in the go round, but her chance at a state championship was gone.

Aimee Davis, who led the standings coming into the short go round, won the round with a lightning-fast time of 6.58 seconds, guaranteeing herself the state title, while Jacee Currin snuck into second place six points ahead of Buckner.

LON AUSTIN/CENTRAL OREGONIAN -  Hope Luttrell finishes her breakaway roping run on Saturday. Luttrell posted a time of 6.06 seconds on the run to finish seventh in the go round. Luttrell placed eighth in the final standings. Buckner also came close to qualifying for nationals in breakaway roping. A time of 3.27 seconds gave her second place in the short go round and moved her to fifth place in the event.

Buckner also finished seventh in the final standings in both barrel racing and girls cutting as well as competing in the state finals in team roping, where she failed to place in the top 10.

"I'm expecting even better at nationals," she said. "I always like to go against the best people, and it's always better to go in expecting good things rather than bad. I just want to thank my family because they got me to this point, and my horses. I couldn't do this without either of them."

Pacer Quire and Chase Buchanan both had their state championships largely wrapped up heading into the state championships.

Buchanan, who lives in Powell Butte but attends Culver High School, won both the second and third go rounds of saddle bronc riding in the state finals as he ran away with the championship, winning by a 46-point margin.

LON AUSTIN/CENTRAL OREGONIAN -  Pacer Quire comes out of the chute in the bareback finals Saturday afternoon. Quire was bucked off but won the state championship in the event. Quire's best run in the state finals was on Thursday when he scored 61 points on his first ride of the championships.Buchanan failed to make a ride on Thursday but more than made up for it Friday and Saturday, posting scores of 64 and 68, respectively.

Buchanan and roping partner Samantha Kerns also placed in both the first and second go round of team roping but failed to finish in the top 10 in the event.

Quire, who had an insurmountable lead in bareback riding, had just one qualified ride, a score of 61 Thursday evening, but that was more than enough to win a state championship.

"I had a good weekend, and I'm happy that I got to participate," Quire said. "The saddle for winning looks cool, so I am pretty excited about that."

The senior, who was in his first year of rodeo competition, also placed eighth in the first go round of tie-down roping but failed to make it to the short go round.

In his final event, Quire teamed with Luttrell to finish seventh in the final standings of team roping.

The duo was fourth in the first go round with a time of 10.70 seconds, then came back in the second go round to place eighth with a time of 16.56.

LON AUSTIN/CENTRAL OREGONIAN - Chase Buchanan scores 68 points Saturday to win the short go round in saddle bronc riding. Buchanan also won the state championship in the event.The duo then failed to get a time in the short go round, finishing seventh in the final standings.

"Today, we tried to make a faster run," Quire said. "We were down a little ways in the points, and we were trying to send it and make up some points, and I ended up getting out a little late and trying to reach and then missed my dally. So, I didn't do too good today, but our first two runs were pretty good."

Luttrell was the final Crook County athlete to qualify for nationals.

Like Buchanan, Luttrell lives in Crook County but attended Culver High School.

Luttrell headed into the finals in fifth place in barrel racing, but used her consistency to move up to fourth place, earning a fourth straight trip to nationals.

Using consistent runs, Luttrell placed seventh in the event on Thursday with a time of 18.318, fourth on Friday with a time of 18.072, and fourth again on Saturday with a time of 18.106.

Still, despite placing in all three go rounds, Luttrell had several anxious moments following Saturday's short go round while she waited to see if she had done enough to make it.

"It's pretty stressful," she said before finding out for sure that she had qualified. "It's close, I'm thinking I made it, but I'm not sure. It would kind of suck that I wouldn't make it my senior year, but it would be OK. I would just go to Silver State and have fun with my friends."

The Silver State International Rodeo is held in Nevada later this summer, and those placing in the fifth through 15th positions at the state finals are eligible to attend the event.

Moments later, a relieved Luttrell found out for sure that she had qualified for nationals.

"I'm really excited," she said. "I want to thank my mom for all her help."

Luttrell also had a chance to qualify for nationals in breakaway roping, but things just didn't go her way in the finals.

Thursday, she roped her steer in under four seconds, but the rope failed to fall all the way over the steer's nose, so even though her rope broke away from her saddle horn, the run did not count.

LON AUSTIN/CENTRAL OREGONIAN - Jaxson Rhoden finishes his steer wrestling run on Saturday. Rhoden posted a time of 12.43 to finish seventh in the go round. Rhoden was also seventh in the final standings of the event.Friday's run was better, but she still didn't place, putting the pressure on in the short go round. And Luttrell appeared to deliver, throwing her rope just after leaving the chute. However, once again, the rope failed to initially fall over the steer's nose, finally settling in far down the arena, as she placed seventh with a time of 6.06 seconds.

With just one scoring run, Luttrell, who entered the finals in fourth place, dropped all the way to eighth in the final standings.

Luttrell found out just before the finals that her breakaway horse wasn't healthy, and she had already lost one horse this winter. Still, she wasn't making any excuses.

"Just nothing fell together," she said. "A big thank you to all the people that helped me. Doing four events in the finals with just one saddle and horse issues was tough. It just wasn't my time."

Several other Crook County athletes also competed in the finals, but none were able to qualify for nationals.

Jaxson Rhoden, who was ninth coming into the finals in steer wrestling, placed all three days in the event, moving up to seventh place in the final standings.

Rhoden was third Thursday with a time of 18.92, sixth Friday in 25.16, and seventh on Saturday with a time of 12.43.

Rhoden also competed in both tie-down roping and team roping.

In tie-down roping, he failed to place in either of the first two rounds, missing the short go round.

Team roping was a different story as Rhoden and roping partner Kody Anastasio, of Powell Butte, placed 10th on Thursday with a time of 17.18.

The duo failed to place on Friday and had no time on Saturday as they finished eighth in the final standings.

LON AUSTIN/CENTRAL OREGONIAN - Gracie Garthwaite makes a barrel racing run on Saturday. Garthwaite finished 10th in the go round and ninth in the final standings in the event.Two other Crook County athletes also competed in the finals.

Dylan Sigman failed to make a qualified ride on any of his three attempts in saddle bronc riding but still finished fifth in the final standings of the event.

Gracie Garthwaite placed in both the first and third go round of barrel racing, to finish ninth in the final standings.

Garthwaite also placed ninth in the second go round of pole bending but failed to qualify for the short go round.

In addition to Crook County athletes, several other members of the Tri-County Rodeo Club also had solid finals performances.

Coy Aldrich of Culver and Caleb Carpenter of Ridgeview placed in all three go rounds of team roping, finishing tied for second in the final standings. The duo improved each go round, placing ninth on Thursday in 15.72, fifth Friday with a time of 10.99, and second on Saturday in 7.17 seconds as they punched their ticket to the national finals.

Aldrich also qualified for nationals in reined cow horse and boys cutting.

Ridgeview's Indigo Sappington also had an outstanding rodeo, placing in two go rounds of tie-down roping as he finished sixth in the final standings.

Indigo and teammate T.C. Hammack also placed eighth in the first go round of team roping and finished fourth in the final standings of the event, narrowly qualifying for nationals.

Joe Scott, from Warm Springs, also punched his ticket to nationals. After winning the state title in saddle bronc riding a year ago, Scott struggled in this year's finals, failing to make a qualified ride. Both Thursday and Friday Scott stayed on his bronc for the required eight seconds, but both times he failed to legally mark out his bronc, so he received no score.

Still, Scott was high enough up in the standings to still tie for third in the final standings of the event, punching his ticket to nationals.

Preston and Dillon Young of Redmond also had solid performances at state.

Dillon was second in the first go round of steer wrestling, fifth in the second go round, and sixth in the third go round as he finished sixth in the final standings.

Meanwhile, Preston was seventh in the first go round of tie-down roping.

Two other Central Oregon athletes also placed in the state finals.

Ridgeview's Ronnie Sappington finished 10th in the first go round of breakaway roping, while Dally Jo Miotke, who attends Redmond Proficiency Academy, placed 10th in the final go round of barrel racing.

Miotke wound up 10th in the final standings.

Jake Raley won the boys all-around championship, while Wyatt McDaniel was the boys rookie of the year.

Other state champions included Wyatt Vankoll and Jake Raley in team roping, Kaden Greenfield in steer wrestling, Brooklin Quisenberry in breakaway roping, Duncan Mackenzie, boys cutting, Samantha Kerns, girls cutting and barrel racing, and Quaid Quisenberry in tie-down roping.

In the closest competition of the rodeo, Cole Hill and Hayden Hilliard both finished with 116 points in bull riding, but Hill won the tiebreaker to take the state championship.

The National Finals Rodeo will be held in Rock Springs, Wyoming, July 15-21, while the Silver State International Rodeo will be held June 30 through July 7 in Winnemucca, Nevada.

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