Fast out of the gate

Photo Credit: NJHSR

IMS’ Rima competing in two NJHFR events 

Regularly entered in five disciplines during the Colorado Junior High Rodeo Association season, Kodi Mae Rima qualified for the 2024 National Junior High Finals Rodeo in two. And after roughly a month between her berth-clinching efforts up in Craig and journeying to the Hawkeye State, Kodi Mae Rima didn’t waste any more time making her presence known. 

With a good sense of the atmosphere permeating the Iowa State Fairgrounds, and after the Nationals’ opening performances Sunday night, June 23, and the morning of the 24th a better sense of her competition, Rima rode into Jacobson Arena that night for her first attempt in pole bending. Possibly her on-paper best event, Rima was ready and rocked her opportunity. 

Clocking 21.072 seconds, she trailed only Newcastle, Wyoming’s Emeree Tavegie (21.001) out of 25 competitors, while bettering third-place Parker Lenhardt (21.714) of Helena, Mont., by more than six-tenths of a tick. Through Performances 1-3, Rima’s time ranked sixth in the incomplete first go-round, paced at press time by Sparta, Wisconsin’s Lanie Brooks. 

Poised to enter eighth grade this fall at Ignacio Middle School, Rima was scheduled to make her second guaranteed try Friday morning, June 28, with Brooks’ initial 20.412 (as well as any subsequent entrants’ similar times) certainly within her range; Rima had won one State Finals go with a 20.123, en route to placing eighth in the specialty’s three-ride average. Even more promising, her time at the Moffat County Fairgrounds held up as the fastest for the whole May 23-27 show. 

Rima was slated to compete Tuesday, June 25, in goat tying, and again in that timed event the evening of the 27th. Morning performances in Des Moines begin at 9 a.m. Central; evening action each night at the 19th Annual NJHFR starts at 7 p.m., and each contestant competes in one morning and one evening perf in their respective event(s) during the two long go-rounds. The top 20 in each event then advance to the championship, or ‘short’ go Saturday night, June 29. 

Featuring roughly 1,200 contestants from 43 states, Mexico, five Canadian provinces and even Australia, the Nationals is the world’s largest rodeo of its kind. And in addition to competing for NJHFR World Champion prestige plus more than $80,000 in prizes, qualifiers will also be vying for more than $200,000 in college scholarships. 


As mentioned, Rima finished fourth in pole bending during the 2023-24 CJHRA campaign; her 86 points edged out Bayfielder Teagan McInnes’ 83 but ranked behind Jayleigh Gordanier (98) of Cortez. Gyntri Hughes of Olney Springs accumulated a first-place 108 points, with Wetmore’s Avery Draper (102) the Reserve Champion. 

Interestingly, the Gordaniers (Jayleigh and Brileigh) joined Rima in each winning a round – clocking 20.164, and 20.864 respectively – at the State Finals. Meanwhile, consistency in Craig paid off for McInnes; though placing no higher than fourth in any round, she won the average with three runs in the low 21s (21.361, 21.260, 21.036). Second went to Monte Vista’s Kollyns McCullough (21.536, 21.922, 21.033) and third to Hughes (20.954, 20.563, 25.476). Rima clocked 20.123, 26.067 and 25.824. 

In goat tying, she also ranked fourth in the year-end … but barely. Totaling 90.5 points, she denied Ault’s Sheridan Lostroh a Nationals trip by just half a point after finishing ninth in the average – helped by a second-place 11.520 on one attempt and a fifth-place 10.150 on another, but hindered by one no-time – at State. 

Champion Mackenzie Geesen (117 points) of Kersey won the average (30.590/3) and posted the fastest time (8.340). 


In barrel racing Rima ended up seventh in the final CJHRA standings with 75 accumulated points. At State she was strong, however; totaling 55.448 seconds on three (18.504, 18.594, 18.350) runs, she took fourth in the average behind Burns’ Cheyenne Kujala (53.986/3), Ault’s Georgia Fryer (54.456) and Jayleigh Gordanier (54.578). In the year-end, though, Geesen edged Draper 115-113 to emerge as champion. Gordanier ended up sixth (79 points), while Fryer (88) took fourth and earned Colorado’s final Nationals ticket in the event. 

In rifle shooting, Rima’s eighth place showing at State solidified her seventh place standing overall behind State average winner and 2023-24 champion Dot Veatch of Agate and runner-up Jaykin Spaid of, appropriately, Rifle. Rima also finished 23rd in the year-end breakaway roping figures and ended up a strong seventh in All-Around Cowgirl with 259.5 points. Draper topped the table with 610.5, Geesen followed with 472.5 and McInnes ended up ninth with 244. 

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