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Wet weather forces delays and extra effort at the Oregon State High School Rodeo finals

LON AUSTIN - Caleb Carpenter, left, of Powell Butte preps to throw a rope at the heels of a calf during the team roping competition at the Oregon State High School Rodeo Assocation finals in Prineville last week. Carpenter and his partner, Cael Stratton, of Lakeview, dominated the event during the finals and came away as state champions. Powell Butte's Kennedy Buckner also became a state champion, in the goat typing event.

The Oregon State High School Rodeo Association held its state finals in Prineville Thursday through Saturday.

The rodeo was impacted by weather, with rain making the arena muddy on Friday. In addition, the mud led to a delay in the start of Saturday's short go round as a crew from the fairgrounds had to remove mud from a large area of the arena on Saturday and replace the area with fresh dirt.

Still, despite the weather and the delay, the rodeo was a success.

A lot was on the line entering the finals as the top four places in each event qualify for the High School National Finals Rodeo. As a result, several events were fiercely contested.

When the dust settled Saturday afternoon, two members of the Tri-County Rodeo Club were state champions.

Probably the biggest surprise was Caleb Carpenter of Powell Butte. The team roping heeler and his heading partner, Cael Stratton of Lakeview, entered the finals in second place, just six points ahead of fifth place, and were more concerned with qualifying for the national finals then with winning a state championship.

However, the duo had a nearly perfect finals, winning round one with a time of 9.76, taking first in the second go round, this time with a time of 6.93 seconds, and finishing up with a first place in the short go round, this time with a time of 7.28 seconds. With the strong finals rodeo, Carpenter and Stratton wound up running away with the competition, finishing more than 50 points ahead of second-place Adam White and Ty Taylor.

The other Tri-County Rodeo Club member to win a state championship was Powell Butte's Kennedy Buckner, who entered the finals in first place in goat tying. Buckner placed in all three go rounds, including a victory in the second go round with a time of 7.18 seconds. With the consistent showing, Buckner easily won the championship in the event.

Buckner also qualified for nationals in breakaway roping, where she finished fourth in the final standings. Buckner tied for ninth in the first go round, improved to fourth in the second go round and finished fifth in the short go to hold on to fourth place.

Six other Tri-County Rodeo Club members also qualified for the national meet.

Prineville's Wyatt Wood wound up second in bareback riding behind last year's national champion, Mason Stuller of Veneta. Wood finished third in the first go round of the event with a score of 67, improved to second in the second go round with a score of 71, then capped things off with a score of 78 and a victory in the short go round to guarantee his spot in the national finals.

Powell Butte's Callen Whitaker finished third in the final standings of saddle bronc riding. Whitaker placed third in the first go round with a score of 67, was third again in the second go round with a score of 63, and finished second in the short go round with a score of 55.

In bull riding, Terrebonne's Cutter Wollard managed a fourth place finish, despite making just one qualified ride in the three-day rodeo. However, that ride, a 67 in the short go round, was good enough to win the round, and ensure Wollard his trip to nationals.

Bend's Zoey Miller finished second in the final standings of barrel racing. Miller won the first go round with a time of 17.862 seconds. However, Miller failed to place in the second go round, putting the pressure on for the final round. Miller came through in a big way on Saturday in the short go round, takin first with a time of 18.042.

The final two club members to reach the national finals were Adriene Steffen of Sisters and Paige Pentzer of Powell Butte. Steffen wound up third in pole bending despite having a below average finals rodeo. Steffen finished ninth in the first go round, ninth again in round two, and improved to fifth in the short go round.

Meanwhile, Pentzer finished fourth in the final standings of goat tying after a third-place finish in the first go round, a sixth in the second go round, and another third place finish in the short go round, with a time of 7.63, her fastest time of the year.

Although not a member of the Tri-County Rodeo Club, two other Central Oregonians also qualified for nationals.

Preston Young of Terrebonne, who chooses to compete as an independent, won the state championship in steer wrestling. Young also qualified for the nationals in tie-down roping with a fourth-palce finish, and just missed a trip to nationals in team roping where he and roping partner Natalie Thompson finished fifth in the final standings. The other Central Oregon athlete to qualify for nationals was Clint Rutherford of Fossil who won the state championship in saddle bronc riding and finished third in bareback riding.

Although no other Central Oregon cowboys or cowgirls qualified for nationals, several others placed in some of the go rounds this past weekend, as well as placing high in the final standings.

Redmond's Cutter Kluser wound up seventh in the final standings of bareback riding after placing fifth in the first go round of the event and fourth in the second go round.

Prineville's Ross McKinney placed sixth in the final standings of bull riding despite not making a qualified ride in the state finals.

Powell Butte's Parker Buchanan finished seventh in the final standings of the event despite not having a qualified ride at state. Buchanan did not place in the top 10 in the final standings of team roping, but did have a ninth place finish in the second go round of the event. The final Central Oregon cowboy to place in the final standings was Deaglan Lundquist of Powell Butte, who finished fifth in the final standings of saddle bronc riding.

Like Buchanan and McKinney, Lundquist did not have a qualified ride during the state finals.

Several Central Oregon cowgirls did finish in the top 10 in the final standings of their respective events.

In addition to her high finish in barell racing, Miller was also 10th in the final standings of pole bending. Steffen was eight in goat tying and also finished ninth in the final standings of breakaway roping.

Crook County's Gracie Flitner placed seventh in girls cutting and 10th in the final standings of barrel racing. Flitner placed seventh in both the first and short go round of barrel racing at the state finals.

Redmond's Brooke Blevins finished ninth in the final standings of goat tying.

Although they did not make the top 10 in the final standings. Culver's Mecarte Cook had perhaps her best rodeo of the year, placing fourth in the first go round of goat tying, second in the second go round, and fourth in the short go round of the event with a best time of 7.67 seconds.

Culver's Kaycee Kash also placed in one go round of goat tying, taking eight in the second go round of the event.

Paulina's Lucas Teskey also had a solid rodeo, placing ninth in the first go round of tie down roping.

The National Finals Rodeo will be held July 18-24 in Lincoln, Nebraska.


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