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Winners of First State High School Rodeo

by Wyoming Livestock Roundup

With the National High School Finals Rodeo in Rock Springs this weekend, here’s a postcard that should trigger memories of many an old rodeo hand and spectator.

More than 20 winners in the first Wyoming State Championship Junior rodeo held in Saratoga July 3-4, 1955, qualified for the National High School Rodeo July 21-23 at Harrison, Neb.

According to The Saratoga Sun dated July 7, 1955:

Approximately 2,000 attended the two-day accident-free show at the Legion Rodeo grounds, which was sponsored by the Saratoga Junior Rodeo club.

The first four winners in each event, with the exception of the Queen contest and team-tying, were eligible to participate in the National rodeo. Only the Queen is eligible to compete in the contest at Harrison while team-tying was an extra event at the Saratoga show and winners in that event were not qualified for the big rodeo, Bob Runner, Saratoga club president, said.

Over 100 entries by high school boys and girls from all over the state were made in the 12 events with the winners as follows:

Team tying – Vince Hayes, Thermopolis and Jim Moore, Midwest, first; Sonny Morris, Encampment and Bob Runner, Saratoga, second, and Tom Fitzgerald and Con Allen, both of Saratoga, third.

(Edited to list order of finish 1st through 4th).

Cow riding – Dean Allison, Wheatland; Ellis Harvey, Upton; Leslie Nicolen, Moorcroft; and Stan Starr, Wheatland.

Bareback bronc riding – Allen; Buddy Hirsig, Cheyenne; Stan Starr and Jim Scott, Gillette.

Saddle bronc riding – Bob Corpening, Saratoga; and Raymond Record, Gillette. These boys made the only qualified rides in two days.

Boys cutting contest – Bob Runner, Moore; Stew Runner, Saratoga; and Steve Starr, Wheatland.

Bull dogging – Scott; Stan Starr; Stew Runner; and Bob Runner.

Calf roping – Stew Runner, Moore, Allen and Hayes.

Girls breakaway calf roping – Frances Sedgwick, Lusk; and Verna Allen, Saratoga. There were the only two entries in this event.

Girls cutting contest – Mary Kay Walker, Saratoga; Miss Sedgwick; Karon Wessels, Laramie; and Miss Allen.

Girls barrel race – Miss Sedgwick; Miss Allen, second and third on two horses; and Miss Walker.

Queen contest – Miss Wessels, queen; Miss Sedgwick, first attendant; and Miss Allen, second attendant. The queen reigned over the local rodeo, led the parade through town and is eligible to represent Wyoming at the National rodeo. She was judged on horsemanship, appearance, personality and western costume/attire.

Several comments were made to the effect that his year’s show was one of the cleanest ever held here, with fights and drunkenness held to a minimum. Plus all entrants waiting to be let into the arena were prompt and kept the rodeo going.

Rodeo officials were Al Baum, Denver Miller, Geo. Salisbury, Jim Roush, Len Walker, Vernie Allen, Mrs. Denver Miller, Mrs. Jim Roush, Elmer and Louis Irene and Chuck Gavin. Bill Whitney of Centennial served as announcer and Jack Runner of Saratoga as arena clown. The sound system was furnished by the Wyoming State Fair board.

Jim Roush, state fair and rodeo manager, also aided the local club with registration and acted as arena director. 

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