By Julie Johansen & R. Chantz Richens
“…Truly amazing to be here with all these contestants,” voiced a young cowgirl as part of an opening statement at performance 10 of the National High School Finals Rodeo hosted in Gillette, Wyo. last week .
Area qualifiers to the largest rodeo in the the world were: Morgan Jensen, barrels; Louie Ivie, tie-down roping; Austin Allred, bull riding; Hayden Cloward, team roping; McKoy Christiansen and Natan Urie, saddle bronc riding; Jordon Pierce, trap shoot; and Kolton Rhodes, light rifle.
The finals consist of 12 performances and a final short-go with the top 20 contestants in each event. Each contestant competes twice and then the aggregate points qualify competitors for the final performance to choose world Champions. Eighteen contestants from Team Utah made it to the short-go. Part of this Utah team were Ivie, Christiansen, Rhodes as well as Pierce.
Ivie finished 20th in tie-down and Christiansen 15th in saddle bronc riding. Rhodes brought home 12th in his event and Pierce finished 15th.