Ropers qualify for Nebraska-hosted ultimate rodeo
Check-in may take longer, but when local qualifiers for the 2021 National High School Finals Rodeo arrive in Lincoln, Neb., delays caused by the previous weekend’s wicked weather will seem miniscule amidst the mega-sized spectacle.
Hundreds of temporary horse stalls and other structures at the Lancaster Event Center Fairgrounds were devastated July 9-10 by a savage system, with tornadic wind speeds estimated between 85 and 100 mph – tossing and twisting metal and materials effortlessly about, right in line with the National Weather Service’s Severe Thunderstorm Warning issued for most of the state’s east-central and southeastern reaches.
But even with potentially 40% of stalls reportedly requiring either repair or replacement, the supreme show will go on.
Officially running from the 18th through the 24th, competitors – around 1,700 of them – and their livestock were to begin reporting to the LEC campus – denied hosting the NHSFR in 2020 due to the coronavirus pandemic – at noon Thursday, July 15, with Ignacio-area representatives Bodie Hine and Teryn McWhirter set to be in the mix.
Able to qualify in team roping with partner Brayden Fillmore of Penrose, Hine will, according to the unofficial draw sheet reviewed Monday, July 12, compete on Day 1 during the Sunday evening performance but then wait until the morning of the last day for a guaranteed second pass – with both times then hopefully advancing him into that night’s championship go-round.
Breakaway roper McWhirter, meanwhile, is slated to make both her assured attempts mid-week, appearing in both the Wednesday morning and evening sessions, hoping her work will hold up through five subsequent performances and see her into the July 24th short go as the 73rd annual Finals winds down.
HOW THEY GOT THERE
His roping abilities well known, Hine teamed with Fillmore at the Colorado State High School Finals, May 27-30 in Craig, to win not only the short go (8.720 seconds) but also the event average with a total time of 31.280 (9.450-13.110-8.720) seconds – bettering the 32.700 tallied by Keenesburg’s Mark Halliday and Gill’s Coy Shoemaker – on three successful tries. Third place went to Loveland’s Rett and Troupe Coors, who clocked 56.820.
In the CSHSRA’s year-end standings, Fillmore had accumulated the most points (94) of any header or heeler, while Hine (74) placed fourth as both clinched NHSFR berths.
McWhirter, meanwhile, had a solid fourth place showing – totaling 23.790 seconds in securing three head – at the Moffat County Fairgrounds, and ended the 2020-21 campaign third in points. Her 73 trailed only the 83.5 of Boone’s Shyanna Reeves (this season’s CSHSRA All-Around Cowgirl) and the 107 of Hudson’s Harley Baas. State Finals champ Maci York of Wellington recorded a three-head time of 10.570 seconds, but came up short in her bid to earn a Lincoln ticket as she finished sixth in points.
ALSO EN ROUTE
Also traveling from La Plata County to the NHSFR will be Rhiley Morgan-Montoya of Hesperus. A Mancos High student, she captured first place at State in goat tying, totaling 23.120 seconds on three successful attempts. Morgan-Montoya also ranked first in year-end points; her 130 narrowly beat out the 128 tallied by Eagle’s Makaylee Fischer, and also helped her end up eighth in All-Around points (Morgan-Montoya racked up 236.5; Reeves amassed 524.75).
Morgan-Montoya will make her first attempt Monday morning, July 19, and then go again the evening of the 23rd.
Durango’s Hannah Belvin qualified in barrel racing; her third-place result at State in the average (18.197-18.177-17.955) upped her to fourth in points (78), as well as 28th in A-A points (78; McWhirter took 30th with 75). According to the NHSFR’s unofficial draw, Belvin is slated to ride Tuesday morning, July 20, and again the evening of the 22nd.
And still with ties to the Bayfield/Ignacio/Durango communities, Mitchell Story of Aztec, N.M., qualified for nationals in saddle bronc. Covering two of three head in Craig, his respective scores of 73 and 80 easily won him two go-rounds as well as the average, and he ended up first in year-end points with 80. He would also rank top-20 in All-Around Cowboy points, placing 19th with 118 (with 74, Hine tied for 32nd).
Story will ride the evening of the 20th and again the morning of the 22nd.
In the CSHSFR’s rifle shooting event, held at Bears Ears Sportsman Club north of Craig, Ignacio’s Kyle Rima tallied a three-stage score of 801 points (285-243-273) and ended up placing sixth – an effort which bumped him up to seventh in the year-end points with 53. Leo Veatch of Agate topped the table with 140, having inflated his total by winning State with a 992 (327-327-338).