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Kennedy Bucker just misses first in goat tying, other locals perform well at event

CENTRAL OREGONIAN - Kennedy Bucker won state championship in goat tying in mid-June.Kennedy Buckner, of Powell Butte, did everything in her power to win a national championship but came up just short as she finished second in goat tying at the National High School Finals Rodeo, which was held July 18-24 at the Lancaster Event Center in Lincoln, Nebraska.

Buckner averaged less than eight seconds a run as she finished with a combined time of 23.68 seconds on three go rounds. However, Wyoming's Haiden Thompson was slightly better, winning the event with a total time of 23.67 seconds.

Buckner finished 14th in the first go round with a time of 8.39 seconds. Meanwhile, Thompson won the go round with a time of 7.36 seconds. Although she outperformed Thompson the remainder of the rodeo, Thompson's lead was just too large for Buckner to overcome. Buckner improved to seventh in the second go round with a time of 7.9 seconds, while Brooklyn Balch of Texas won the go round in a time of 7.15 seconds and Thompson finished 15th with a time of 8.4 seconds.

In the short go round, Buckner finished second with a time of 7.39 seconds, while Jessica Stevens of Nebraska won the go round with a time of 7.25 seconds. Thompson finished sixth with a time of 7.91 seconds, giving her the narrow victory.

Although she stole the show for the Tri-County Rodeo Club, Buckner was not the only local cowboy or cowgirl to have a good national finals rodeo.

Prineville's Wyatt Wood just missed making the short go round in bareback riding, finishing 21st in the event with a total score of 135 on two head. Wood tied for 14th in the first go round with a score of 71. He made a successful ride again on his second head, but scored just 64 points, causing Wood to miss out on the short go round.

Two other Oregon athletes did even better than Wood in the event. Veneta's Mason Stuller finished fourth with a score of 224.5 on three head, while Fossil's Clint Rutherford finished 14th overall with a score of 211.5, also on three head. Sandy's Garrett Blackwell finished 37th in the event with a score of 106 on two head. Idaho's Kelby Schneiter won the event with a three-ride total of 233.5.

Other Tri-County rodeo club members to place in the event included Zoe Miller of Bend who finished 33rd in barell racing, Buckner, who was 121st in breakaway roping, Mecarte Cook of Culver, 28th in goat tying, Paige Pentzer of Powell Butte, 69th in goat tying and Adriene Steffen of Sisters, 31st in pole bending.

Oregon finished 20th in the girls team scoring, 13th in the boys scoring and 16th overall. Texas won the boys, girls and team scoring, while Wyoming was second in girls scoring. Idaho was second in the boys scoring and in the overall team scoring.

Several other Oregon cowboys and cowgirls also figured in the scoring at the event.

Preston Young, who lives in Terrebonne, but does not compete for the Tri-County Rodeo Club, finished 50th in tie-down roping and 104th in steer wrestling.

Heppner's Jett Stewart teamed up with Brayden Schmidt of Benton City, Washington to finish 28th in team roping, while Adam White and Ty Taylor, both of Burns were 40th in the event.

Taylor was also 73rd in steer wrestling. Blaine Mahoney of Heppner finished 40th in the event, while Wyatt McDaniel of Yoncolla was 60th in the event.

In addition to his fourth place finish in bareback riding, Stuller was also 22nd in saddle bronc riding, while Shane Scott, who hails from Ridgefield, Washington but competes for the Oregon team, was 39th in the event.

In addition to Young, three other Oregon cowboys placed in tie-down roping, with Springfield's Justin Reno taking sixth, Pendleton's Handy Lieuallen 28th, and McDaniel 106th.

John Day's Bailey McCracken placed 51st in barell racing, while Brush Prairie, Washington's Hailey Saemon, who competes for Oregon was 53rd, and Lauryn Ray of Milton-Freewater was 65th in the event.

In boys cutting, Dyson Ribb of Baker City finished 38th, while Yoncalla's Natalie Thompson was 20th in breakawy roping, Aurora's Payton Johnson was 21st in the event, and Shealyn Hamson of Scio was 68th in the event.

In girls cutting, Kylie Siddoway of Durkee finished 19th, Olivia Davison of Carlton took 23rd and Maggie Mackenzie of Baker City and McCracken tied for 59th.

Pole bending saw Riney finish in 21st, while Alyson Terry of Hermiston finished 31st and Gwyneth Cheyne of Klamath Falls finished 72nd.

The final event that saw Oregon athletes place was reined cow horse, where Thompson finished 39th, Sam McCracken of John Day 72nd and Aurora's Johnson 100th.

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