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Powell Butte cowboy Deaglán Lundquist qualifies for Cowboy Channel Jr. Nationals at Rodeo in Fort Worth, before competing in finals at AT&T Stadium in Arlington Texas

LON AUSTIN - Deaglán Lundquist makes a saddle bronc ride last year at the Tri-County Rodeo. Lundquist recently placed fourth in the Cowboy Channel Junior Nationals. The semifinals of the event were held at Will Rogers Memorial Stadium in Fort Worth, while the finals were held at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas.

Deaglán Lundquist is riding a high.

The Powell Butte high school student has just returned from the Cowboy Channel Junior Nationals at the AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas, where he placed fourth in saddle bronc riding.

"It was a great experience," Lundquist said. "I was really kind of starstruck thinking of all the great people who have been in that arena and have played football in those places."

Lundquist qualified for the finals after winning the first go-round in the semifinals, which were held at Will Rogers Memorial Coliseum in Fort Worth, Texas, the first weekend of March.

Will Rogers Memorial Coliseum is the former home of the Fort Worth Stock Show and Rodeo and is one of the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association's major winter stops.

The go-round win propelled Lundquist to the finals, which were held the following weekend.

Lundquist arrived at AT&T Stadium hours before the first go-round of the finals and said that he was impressed with the size of the stadium.

"When we got there, there weren't a lot of people," he said. "We were there three or four hours, and there wasn't anyone in the stands. Then before we did our grand entry, I walked out and looked up a bit and there were a bunch of people, and I was nervous for a while, but as soon as they ran the bucking horses, my head went blank and I just figured out the job that I needed to do. Nervous for a while, but after getting ready, it just faded away. Kind of got tunnel vision, I suppose."

With his nerves gone, Lundquist made qualified rides both nights of the finals.

"There's nothing else really like it that I've experienced," he said. There's just people all around and so many different sounds and smells and everything and walking through the big concrete tunnels and stuff. And then all of a sudden, there is a rodeo in the arena with horses and bulls and then looking up in the stadium, and it is just packed with people as far up as you can see — just people all over it. It was a really great experience. There's nothing else like it."

Lundquist said he was disappointed he didn't place higher. One of the horses he rode in the finals had propelled a cowboy from Louisiana to a go-round win at the semifinals. However, the horse failed to buck as well in the larger AT&T arena.

"He kind of got lost in the bigger arena and didn't have the same kind of trip he usually does," Lundquist said. "I just wish he would have had a little bit better of a trip and not been so lost in that big arena. But I'm happy with it. You always want to be first and go into it wanting to win, but it was a great experience, and being fourth is a pretty good accomplishment."

Lundquist says that many people have helped him throughout his short career.

"I think I've had a lot of help from different people," he said. "The rodeo community has just really tried not to give up. I've had a lot of great people help me and keep me going through rough spells and when things haven't been working as well for me. I'd just like to thank the Crooked River Roundup for helping me get to this great place and everyone else who has helped me and sponsored me to go to these great places and believed in me and my rodeo goals."

Lundquist was expecting to have a short break following the Cowboy Channel Junior Nationals before the start of the high school rodeo season. However, that season is on hold at least for now.

"It's kind of disappointing to not be able to look forward to high school rodeo after being off for the winter and not having as many rodeos to go to," he said.

However, he was quick to add that there are still other events that he is planning on participating in.

He competed in a calf roping event in Burns this past weekend. He is also team roping. All that's missing is the opportunity to ride rough stock.

Looking forward, Lundquist plans to go to college and major in agriculture business management, as well as compete in rodeo. Following college, he hopes to compete in professional rodeo before eventually raising rough stock and cattle.

So, what was the best part about his recent experience?

"Just being able to learn new things and getting to hang out with kids that maybe I don't get to see except for places like high school nationals and things like that," Lundquist said. "And being with guys that pro rodeo and getting tips and building relationships with them and further rodeo experiences."

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