Luttrell leads Oregon contingent at Junior World Rodeo Finals
A large contingent of Oregon cowboys and cowgirls competed in the Junior World Rodeo Finals, which were held Dec. 5-14 in Las Vegas, Nevada, in conjunction with the National Finals Rodeo.
It was the first year for the Junior World Finals, and although several Oregon competitors were successful, none did better than former Tri County Rodeo Star Hope Luttrell.
Luttrell, who currently competes for Cochise College in Arizona, placed second in the girls 19U breakaway roping event at the World Finals to lead all Oregon competitors.
"We roped at the Convention Center, which is where they hold Cowboy Christmas," Luttrell said. "We roped upstairs so that was kind of an experience itself. It was crazy, but it was pretty fun."
Luttrell finished in fourth place in the average after the first three go-round of the rodeo.
That qualified her for the knockout rounds, which pitted the top cowgirls from the previous rounds in a shootout competition, with the slowest cowgirls being eliminated after each round.
"The first round was tough — really tough," Luttrell said. "I was last out, so I knew what I needed, but since there were seven of us the first round, you had to be a 2.24 or faster, so there was a lot of pressure because you had to be fast."
Luttrell didn't need to worry. She won the first shootout round with a time of 1.92 seconds.
She then won the second round with another fast time of 2.30 seconds. In the semifinals Luttrell finished second with a time of 2.77 seconds, qualifying her for the championship round against Madison Outheir of Utopia, Texas, who had won the average in the qualifying go-rounds.
Luttrell had the disadvantage of going first in the finals and drew a hard-running calf.
"I drew a really fast calf and I missed my calf," Luttrell said.
Outhier could have played it safe, knowing that all she needed to do was have a successful run, but instead she still went as fast as she could, catching her calf in 2.05 to win the Junior World Finals, leaving Luttrell in second.
Still, Luttrell was pleased with her performance at the event.
"With how tough these girls were and the setup, with all the pressure and everything, I believe that it helped me," she said. "I had to handle it and it was a blast. Little, my horse, did great too."
Luttrell noted that the other girls in the finals included the High School National Finals Rodeo Champion from 2019, as well as Outhier, who won the prestigious American Roping event and $100,000 earlier in the year.
Luttrell added that not only was the competition good, the event arena was an experience in itself.
Contestants competed upstairs at the Las Vegas Convention Center, making getting horses and roughstock to the arena a challenge.
In addition, each time someone made a run, the entire venue shook, something that bothered some of the horses. However, Luttrell noted that Little was fine with the arena.
"Your driver had to drive your truck up the ramp and you had to get out and unload your horse and get all of your stuff and get out of there as fast as you can and then your driver had to go down the ramp and park out back and wait for you to be done and then come back and pick you up," Luttrell said. "It was pretty interesting, and everybody was yelling back there, so it was a little high stress. Then when you ride in that arena, the whole floor would shake like the ground was vibrating. I was sitting on my horse in the arena and when a girl came out of the box and into the arena, it felt like my horse was shaking."
Luttrell said that it took some time to figure out what was happening, but that it didn't cause any problems.
"When I stood on the ground, I was shaking and at first I couldn't figure out why I was shaking," she said. "So, I found that to be pretty interesting too."
Luttrell qualified for the finals in a rodeo in New Mexico and beat out 37 other competitors from around the country to earn her second-place finish.
Although she was the top Oregon competitor, Luttrell was far from the only Oregon contestant to place at the event.
Caleb Carpenter of Powell Butte also had an outstanding rodeo. Carpenter and roping partner Callahan Taylor finished fourth in the 17U #10.5 team roping.
Powell Butte cowgirl Kennedy Buckner placed sixth in the senior pole bending, with times of 26.204 and 20.94. Buckner would have placed much higher, except for a five-second penalty on her first go-round for knocking over a pole.
Cashen Turner won the pole bending with times of 21.204 and 20.312 for her two go-rounds.
Buckner also competed in senior barrel racing, where she placed 43rd out of 71 competitors.
Madison Murphy was the barrel racing winner with a time of 41.555 on three head.
The final local cowboy to place in the rodeo was Deaglán Lundquist of Powell Butte, who placed 10th in the junior novice saddle bronc competition.
Lundquist had a score of 54 on his first go-round, then failed to make a qualified ride in the next two go-rounds.
Jaret Cooper won the event with scores of 61.0, 52.0 and 78.0, for a total of 191.0 on three head.
A number of other Oregon athletes, some with local ties, also placed at the Junior World Finals.
Gracie Garthwaite, formerly of Prineville and currently a Condon resident, finished 26th in the senior barrels, while Clint Rutherford, also formerly a Crook County resident now living in Fossil, tied for 12th in the junior novice saddle bronc event.
Rutherford also competed in the junior novice bareback, where he placed sixth overall.
Other Oregon athletes to place in the top 10 at the event included Mason Stuller of Veneta, second in the junior novice saddle bronc and ninth in junior novice bareback; Siddalee Suppah of Warm Springs, who placed third in peewee saddle bronc; Kimberley Williams, seventh in the girls 19U breakaway; Brook Blevins of Redmond; seventh in the girls 15U breakaway roping; Jett Stewart of Heppner and partner Jake Orris placed seventh in the #10.5 roping; Kaden Greenfield of Lakeview, who was eighth in the junior steer wrestling; Allison Storts of Coquille, who finished ninth in senior poles; and Isaiah Florendo of Warm Springs, who placed 10th in senior saddle bronc.
Other Oregon athletes to compete included Harli Houston, 16th in junior barrels; Joelle Mattox, 29 in junior barrels; Chloe Peters, 34th in junior barrels; Sierra Greenup, 44th in junior barrels; Cooper Cano, 16th in junior novice bareback and tied for 12th in junior novice saddle bronc; Halee Holman, 53rd in senior barrels; Savannah Greenfield, 14th in girls 15U breakaway; Jessica Tye, 22nd in girls 19U breakaway; Cael Stratton, 19th in 15U tie down roping and 11th, along with Paden Prior, in the #10.5 roping; Chase Joyce, 34th in steer wrestling; and Cutter Kluser, tied for 22nd in senior bareback.
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