By Jasmine Franklin.
They’re the best of the best in school division rodeo and four Ponoka teens have been named to the Wrangler all-star rodeo teams.
Keely Bonnett, 13, and Walker Galloway, 12, were chosen for the 2009/2010 junior high Wrangler division all-star rodeo team. To qualify for the team, individuals must place in the top four rankings in the province.
“It’s a really good thing,” said Galloway.
“It’s kinda fun being in the top four,” said Bonnett.
The top four also qualify for nationals in New Mexico. Bonnett specializes in team roping and ribbon roping, and Galloway in team roping.
They practice at least three times per week and are gearing up for the rodeo season to start up again.
The junior high all-star rodeo team is new for the Wrangler division and is fashioned after Wrangler’s Champion Pro Rodeo team.
“We are excited to expand Wrangler’s rodeo sponsorship program at the middle school level,” said Jeff Chadwick, special events manager for Wrangler Rodeo. “As always, it gives us a tremendous sense of pride to associate the Wrangler brand with promising young men and women. We’re confident each member of the team will be an outstanding goodwill ambassador for the sport of rodeo.”
One condition of the rodeo teams is that each member having to wear a pair of Wrangler jeans and T-shirt when participating at any event. The members are also not allowed to be selected for another team in a different event.
High school students Sheldon Stretch, 15, and Jessa Galloway, 15, were selected for the all star rodeo team at the high school level. Last year, Galloway made it to both Canadians and nationals in breakaway roping, barrel racing and pole bending. She was named rookie of the year for Alberta in her district, girls’ high point and all around cow-girl at Canadians. Stretch attended Canadians where he placed second in boys cutting.
Nationals saw harder competition for Galloway; she said she didn’t do as well as she’d have wished, adding the extreme heat took a toll on her horse.
“I did pretty good last year,” Galloway said. “But I hope to do better this year if I can.”
“I kind of half expected to be on the team this year, but it’s pretty great,” said Stretch.