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13-year-old central Alberta cowboy to compete at Canadian Finals Rodeo

By Michaela Ludwig
Quaide Skjonsberg and some of his winnings from the national competition in Perry, Georgia, where he earned the 2022 NJHSRA world reserve bareback champion title. (Submitted)

By Michaela Ludwig

For Black Press News Media

Quaide Skjonsberg, 13, is taking the high school rodeo world by storm. But he has no plans to stop there.

Skjonsberg, who lives with his family outside Bluffton, has been competing in junior high school rodeo competitions for the last three years and 2022 is his final year before moving up to the high school rodeo level.

It has been a year of wins for Skjonsberg.

The high school rodeo season starts at the end of August and runs to October. The season picks up again in April and then runs to June. The competitions are broken up into three districts, and Skjonsberg competes in district 2, central Alberta.

At the end of May 2022, all three Alberta districts came together in Rimbey for provincials and Skjonsberg took home the top prize for the bareback steer category, scoring an average of 210, well above the second-place rider.

However, Skjonsberg is no stranger in the provincials’ ring having won the bareback steer category all three years he has competed.

The top rider in each category for provincials then goes on to compete at nationals, which was held in Perry, Georgia, this year.

At this competition Skjonsberg was able to show the world just what he’s made of, placing second in his first round, winning the second round and placing third in the final short go. This placed him second overall, winning reserve world champion. He was one point shy of the world champion title.

Nationals attracts riders from all over the world, not just Canada and the US, but also New Zealand, Mexico, Australia and others. This was Skjonsberg’s first year competing at nationals.

After nationals comes the Canadian Finals, which will take place Aug. 3, 4 and 5 in Swift Current, Sask.

“I’m pretty excited to go,” Skjonsbergsaid of competing at the Canadian Finals.

This will be Skjonsberg’s second time competing at the finals, as the event was cancelled in 2020 due to COVID. When Skjonsberg competed in 2021, he won all three of his rounds.

When not competing on the high school rodeo circuit, Skjonsberg is part of the Crooked Horn Canadian Junior Rodeo Association, which also puts on competitions all over Alberta. The summer break from high school rodeo means Skjonsberg has a chance to attend these other events, as well. He also likes to hunt, fish, do leatherwork and train horses and this year he started playing for the Rimbey Spartans football team.

For Skjonsberg, rodeo is a family business. Not does his brother, Denten, compete in saddlebronc riding and his sister, Kasidy, compete in barrel racing, pole bending and cutting, but Skjonsberg got the inspiration to compete in bareback riding from his dad, Jack.

“My dad used to ride bareback,” said Skjonsberg.

“I’d gotten one of his old scrapbooks, with pictures of him doing it, and I wanted to try it too.”

Skjonsberg attended a rodeo school in Rimbey when he was about six years old, and that was his first introduction to bareback riding.

“I fell in love with it,” he said.

And the rest is history.

He started practicing with a bucking machine before moving onto ponies, but Jack built a bucking machine at home for additional practice.

“We’re pretty proud of him,” said Jack.

“This isn’t something they just do on weekends. They practice for it, they train for it.”

“Ever since he was tiny, he’s said he wants to be a bareback rider,” said Jody, Skjonsberg’s mom.

Going forward, Skjonsberg said his dream is to become a professional bareback rider and win the world championship. And since that dream would mean competing in high school rodeo, college rodeo, amateur rodeos and then moving into professional rodeos, it’s safe to say this isn’t the last we will see of Skjonsberg.