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High School Finals Rodeo: Students prepare for year end event

by Wyoming Livestock Roundup

The 2013 Wyoming High School Finals Rodeo (WHSFR) will commence the week of June 3-9 at the Wyoming State Fair Grounds in Douglas. Performances are scheduled for June 6-8, beginning at 8:30 a.m. and concluding at 9 p.m. each night. 

The WHSFR will take place two weeks earlier in the month than in previous years to avoid scheduling conflicts with College National Finals Rodeo (CNFR) and National Junior High School Finals Rodeo (NJHSFR).

“This change has conflicted with some schools that are still in session and has caused some scheduling changes for students to complete their finals,” says Dixie Huxtable, national director for the WHSFR Association, “but it has not impacted entries.”

Nearly 200 students have entered in the upcoming events.

“The change also ensures that the WHSFR and NJHSFR do not happen at the same time,” Huxtable continues. “This makes it easier on parents with kids competing in both the competitions.”

Other changes in the rodeo include shortening the length of the competition by a day. Instead of the four days of performances, the 2013 WHSFR will only host three days of competition. These performances will be longer during the competition days with an overall shorter time span. 

“A lot of the students have said they liked the reduction in the number of competition days,” says Cashlee Cunningham, student president of the WHSRA. “It doesn’t make for such a long week. As far as the change in number of days, no one has really said if they like it or dislike it so far.”

These changes also give the National qualifiers two extra weeks to practice for the competition. The National High School Finals Rodeo (NHSFR) will take place July 14-20 in Rock Springs. 

“I think that anyone ranked in the top six can be game changers at the WHSFR,” Cunningham states. “It is not set in stone who is going to Nationals right now, and anything can happen.”

Top males

The Boys All-Around standings show close competition between the top three contestants.  

Casey Sellers of Buffalo currently leads the pack with a total of 3,657.20 points, followed by Garret Grieve of Baggs with 3,136.45 points. Only 11.60 points separates second place Grieve from third place Justin Kissack of Gillette currently possessing 3,124.85 points. 

Sellers is ranked as the top seat in tie down roping with 114 points in the competition, frequently placing first in the event throughout the season. He is followed in second place by teammate, Cameron Irwin. Sellers is also ranked second in steer wrestling. 

Grieve is ranked second in team roping, just six points behind current leader, Coley Nicholls of Kinnear. Grieve is currently in fifth place in tie down roping. 

Kissack is the leader in bareback riding with 72 points separating him from second place Jeffery Zdziarski of Sheridan. 

Top females

The Girls All-Around standings show Breanna Reimler of Rozet holding the top spot with 4,144.45 points. 

In second place is Deena Norell of Meeker, Colo. with 3,614.23 points, closely followed by Sierra Spratt of Lysite with 3,593.35 points. 

Reimler is top ranked in pole bending, taking first place in nearly every rodeo she entered during the season and giving her a total of 123 points in the category. 

Norell is fierce competition in breakaway roping where she holds first place, continually placing in the top spots during the season. She currently ranks sixth in goat tying. 

Spratt has garnered a total of 138.5 points in barrel racing, placing her top. Right behind her in barrel racing and in the overall standings is Madison Wilkerson of Jackson. 

“In the four years that I have rodeoed, this has been the best year,” says Cunningham, a graduating senior from Banner. “We have a lot of good event directors and good kids participating. There is no one out to get each other. We are just out to have a good time and rodeo the best we can. I think that is why everyone is having such a good year.”

Kelsey Tramp is assistant editor of the Wyoming Livestock Roundup and can be reached at 

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