After all the months hard work and preparation, the White Pine High School Rodeo Club have successfully concluded their second straight year hosting the State Finals rodeo. Four of the clubs members will advance onto the National Finals Rodeo to compete against high school athletes from around the country in Rock Springs, Wyo. on July 12-18.
The four local high school athletes moving on to nationals are: Sadie Leyba, Tyler Whipple, Austin Heckethorn and Catherine Odgers.
Leyba placed first in .22 rifle shooting to move onto nationals for the second year in a row.
“I was able to beat my personal best, which was my goal. Now I’ll be shooting close to 100 rounds every day to
get ready for nationals,” the club’s president said.
While she expected to do well in the shooting, she admitted that the other event she is moving on in, barrel racing, came as a surpise.
“I was in ninth place coming into the state finals and I really didn’t think I would make it to nationals. But I was relaxed and rode well and kept moving up until I was going into the last day in fifth place,” the junior said.
Only the top four finishers in each place qualify for nationals so Leyba knew she was on the bubble. By the time the final day ended, she had moved up to third place.
Leyba wasn’t the only one to be pleasantly surprised by how well the home rodeo went either. Catherine Odgers finished in first place in the Rodeo Queen compeition to become the Nevada State Rodeo Queen. According to Odgers, her first place finish was an unexpected treat to end her strong competition.
“It’s crazy. I’m still trying to believe it myself,” Odgers said.
For freshman Tyler Whipple, his newly scheduled trip to nationals prioitized how he would be spending his summer.
“My family had a vacation planned for the weekend that nationals is going on. We’ve had to cancel that so I can go be a part of it,” the trap shooting state champion said proudly.
In addition to those headed to Wyoming, even more local rodeo competitors will be headed to Winnemucca to compete in the Silver State Invitational Rodeo (SSIR).
Wyatt Jordan, Carlin Hooper, Jaimie Wines and Paul Sonerholm will each get a chance to compete for prizes in SSIR on June 30-July 5 after they finished in the top 5-15 spots in their events.
Over 130 high school rodeo club members competed in the State Finals from June 12-15.