Three area cowboys will be making their way across the border next month.
Ponoka’s Couy McBride, Jax Meston from Tees and Rimbey’s Denton Burns will be competing at the National High School Finals Rodeo in Guthrie, Okalhoma, which runs July 17 to 23 after they all qualified over the weekend at the Alberta High School Rodeo nationals qualifier in Stettler June 18 to 21.
McBride and his partner Clay McNichol from Okotoks will be in the team roping, Meston finished third in the saddle bronc and Burns picked up one of the qualifying spots in the steer wrestling.
McNichol as the header and McBride as the heeler notched a clean run of 6.7 seconds in the first go. A no-time in the second go almost cost them, but the pair recovered with a 6.9 in the short go to give them enough points to end up third.
The rest of the team roping qualifiers include Randon and Denim Ross from Botha, Braden and Rylan Brost of Consul, SK. and Big Valley’s Cole and Landon Warren.
McBride had a shot at also qualifying in the tie-down roping, but just missed out. He ended up 11 points out of the running after posting a no-time in the short go. He set a good time of 10.7 seconds in the first go, but failed to earn any points for a 20.0 second run.
First and second in the tie-down roping were decided by the end of the second run, with Landon Warren overtaking Stettler’s Cooper Resch for the title. Sherwood Park’s Kyle Wanchuk and his short go winning time of 10.9 seconds along with Ben Mitchell of Twin Butte, who took second in the short go with an 11.5, put them into third and fourth, respectively, to qualify.
As for Meston, he came in just five points behind the two season leaders, but only managed to score on one of his three rides. However, that 40.5 score was enough, as combined there were only eight good rides among the 10 competitors.
Briley Scott from Sundre wound up in first, scoring two rides of 45, while Carter Sandberg from Nanton was second and Dixon Tattrie from Youngstown ended up fourth.
Burns put up some great numbers on his three runs — 9.7, 5.6, 5.0 — which were enough to clinch the final qualifying spot in the steer wrestling. The top three spots went to Botha’s David Butterwick, capturing the title by three points over Ben Mitchell of Twin Butte with Black Diamond’s Tyson MacKenzie a further 10 poins back in third.
It was a rough time for two Ponoka cowgirls and one from Bluffton at the rodeo. Locals Macy Auclair and Tegan Poitras had some tough luck in their events, while Kassidy Skjonsberg performed well in the girls cutting though didn’t qualify.
Auclair and her team roping partner Reid Regehr couldn’t catch a break, finishing with three no-times. Auclair also competed in the breakaway roping, where she posted a 12.3 second run to go with a pair of no-times.
The breakaway qualifiers were Maddie and Katie Bews from Okotoks, Mckinley Wall of Rocky View County and Falyn Thomson from High River.
Poitras ran a 14.21 and a 14.25 in her first two barrel runs, but that left her a full second behind the winner Brooke Swaffield from Dawson Creek, B.C. and the other three qualifiers — Hannah Sheehan of Carstairs, Madison Hickey from Breton and Alex McDonald of Heritage Point.
Poitras also competed in the poles event, but a 26.939 in her first run included a five-second pole down penalty and a slower second run of 27.061 left her out of the running.
Skjonsberg finished fifth in the girls cutting, ending up 13 points shy of the top four that qualified, after managing scores of 65 and 72, which was the top score in the second go.
There were only two bareback riders competing, meaning both qualified for the trip south of the border. Garnett Kromm from Botha finished on top by posting two rides each with scores of 45, while Cadogan’s Brodie Moldowan managed to stay on one of the three rides for a 40.5 score.
In the bull riding, the four cowboys that managed to stay on for eight seconds and were leading the entire season will be the ones representing the province at the National Finals. Auzyn Corr of Sexsmith was the lone rider to put up two good scores, a 36 and a 40.5, to place first. Justin James from Castor, Red Deer’s Carter Sahli and Quade Hughson from Foremost will join him for the trip.
Big Valley’s Theresa Thurston, Kenda Statham from Cranbrook, B.C. along with Kalyn Glover of Nanton and Swaffield were the qualifiers in goat tying.
The working cow horse qualifiers were Kaycee Scobey of Newbrook, Peri Phillips of Waskaterau, Ben Mitchell and Ross Denim.
Meanwhile, all four entries in the boys cutting — Mitchell, Wyatt Coates of Thorhild plus Nanton’s Jace Sears and Cole Blades — all qualified.
There were four other awards handed out — on the boys side, Mitchell won the all-around with Denim Ross as the top rookie; on the girls side, the all-around was won by Statham with the top rookie going to Katie Bews.