Local teens competing in State Finals Rodeo
There will be a lot on the line starting June 13, when high school rodeo stars from throughout the state descend on the Crook County Fairgrounds for the Oregon High School Rodeo Association State Finals Rodeo.
The event features the top 20 individuals in the standings in each event, plus the top 20 team roping teams.
When the dust finally settles following Saturday's short go-round, the top four individuals in the final standings of each event will have qualified for the National High School Finals Rodeo, which will be held July 11-20, in Rock Springs, Wyoming.
Individuals finishing in fifth through 15th place will also still have one high school rodeo remaining as they qualify for the Silver State International Rodeo, which will be held June 30-July 6, in Winnemucca, Nevada.
Competition starts at 9 a.m. Thursday morning, with a slack performance featuring all of the contestants in the timed events.
Thursday evening at 6 p.m. will be the first go-round for the rough stock events. In addition, contestants ranked 11th-20th in the standings will compete in the second go-round of the timed events Thursday evening.
Friday morning, June 14, at 8 a.m., contestants in the rifle and trap shooting events will compete at the Redmond Gun Club.
Then, at 6 p.m. Friday will be the second go-round in the rough stock events as well as those ranked in the top 10 in all timed events.
Following Friday's go-round, points from the regular season and the first two go-rounds of the finals will be added together with the top 10 in each event qualifying for Saturday's short go-round, which begins at noon.
State championships in boys and girls cutting, as well as reined cow horse have already been contested.
Just three boys entered this year's cutting competition. Crook County's Gavin McLean was the state champion in boys cutting, while Sam McCracken was second, and Culver's Coy Aldrich finished third.
Aldrich was the state champion in the reined cow horse competition, with Cate Hepper second, Brooklin Quisenberry third, and Aimee Davis fourth.
Kylie Siddoway won the girls cutting championship with Jacee Currin second, Aimee Davis third, and Michelle Williams fourth.
Powell Butte's Kennedy Buckner finished 11th in the final standings of cutting.
Although Buckner was the final contestant to score points in the cutting, that may still prove valuable as she is locked in a tight race for the girls all-around title.
Buckner is currently third in the all-around standings with 253.5 points. Currin leads with 279.5 points, while Cate Hepper is second with 258.5.
Several other athletes will also be representing the club at the state finals.
Those athletes include Bubba Luttrell of Prineville and Culver High School, Brooke Blevins, Redmond, Colton Kluser, Redmond, Cord Gomes, Antelope and Culver High School, Deaglan Lundquist, Powell Butte, DeLaney Smith, Prineville, Gracie Garthwaite, Powell Butte, Jaiden Unruh, Madras, Dally Miotke, Terrebonne, Jaxson Rhoden, Prineville, Matt Shannon, Prineville, Paige Pentzer, Powell Butte, and Sterling Cook, Bend.
Of all the Tri-County Rodeo Club athletes, Buckner, Aldrich and Matt Shannon have the best chance of winning individual championships.
Aldrich enters the state finals leading the standings in team roping, along with roping partner Brayden Schmidt, with 79 points.
The duo currently has a 25-point lead on second-place Trent Sorey and Brady White, who have 52 points.
The young brothers are also in the hunt for a trip to nationals in the event as they are currently in a three-way tie for fifth, sixth and seventh place, with 44 points each.
Jaxson Rhoden and Michelle Williams are 15th in the event, while Buckner and Luttrell are 18th in the standings.
Aldrich is also eighth in the current standings in tie-down roping and 12th in steer wrestling.
Buckner, on the other hand, is still in the race to win as many as three individual championships.
The Powell Butte cowgirl is currently leading an extremely tight race in pole bending with 76 points.
Smith is 13th in the standings, while Garthwaite is 19th.
Although she also has 76 points, Hepper is currently second in the event.
Buckner is also in the thick of a tight barrel racing final, sitting in second place with 57.5 points. Williams leads the standings with 69, while Tea Recanzone is third, 54, and Hepper fourth, also with 54.
As in the girls competition, just a handful of individuals are still in the running for the boys all-around title.
Aldrich currently has a more than 20-point lead on the field with 201 points, while Chase Joyce is in second with 179, and Zane Taylor third with 155.
Buckner, Aldrich and the Young brothers all compete for the Tri-County Rodeo Club.
The Young brothers and Rhoden all have a chance to qualify for nationals, as well.
All three are in a battle for one of the four spots at nationals in steer wrestling.
Chase Joyce currently leads the event with 69 points, while Preston Young is second with 66.
Rhoden is seventh currently with 51 points, while Dillon Young is eighth with 46 points.
Gomes is 11th, while Aldrich enters the finals in 12th.
Meanwhile, Dillon Young is fourth in tie-down roping with 59 points, while Aldrich is eighth, with 36, and Preston Young is ninth, with 33.
Trent Sorey leads the event with 76 points.
Luttrell in 14th and Gomes in 20th will also compete in the event.
In other events, Matt Stuller has a huge lead in the bareback riding standings, while Cole Hill has a seemingly insurmountable lead in bull riding.
Several contestants may have already punched their tickets to nationals by the end of Friday's second go-round, while others will have some anxious moments and may not know whether or not they have qualified until sometime after Saturday's performances are finally over.
With a total of 40 points possible in the average, there could still be a lot of movement at the top of the standings should someone get on a roll during this week's finals.
With contestants well down the standings still having a chance to qualify for either the National Finals or Silver State, expect to see some exciting competition during the three-day event.
You count on us to stay informed and we depend on you to fund our efforts. Quality local journalism takes time and money. Please support us to protect the future of community journalism.