By Julie Johansen
In what the announcer called “Wasatch Lake,” 12 Emery junior high rodeo team members competed in the Junior High State Finals at the Wasatch County Fairgrounds in Heber City on Thursday, Friday and Saturday. The shooting competition took place Thursday morning where Ryter Ekker earned second place and Kashley Rhodes finished ninth. Placing in the top four earns contestants a birth to nationals in South Dakota in July.
The two rounds of arena events began with the first round on Thursday evening and Friday morning. The second round was on Friday evening and Saturday morning. Following these two rounds, the top 15 qualified to compete in the short go or finals on Saturday afternoon. The arena remained a mud bog for all performances with the rain falling intermittently throughout the three days. But, the show must go on, and everyone tried their hardest despite many mud baths.
Those competing were Zeek Weber in ribbon roping and team roping; Shaynee Fox in girls’ breakaway and girls’ goats; Kinlee Jensen in girls’ breakaway, girls’ goats and ribbon roping; Race Gilbert in chute dogging, team roping and tie down roping; Zamne Magnuson in boys’ breakaway, ribbon roping and team roping; Stace Gilbert in boys’ breakaway, boys’ goats and team roping; Monty Christiansen in barebacks, bulls and saddle broncs; and Graycee Mills in barrels, girls’ breakaway, girls’ goats and poles.
Mills qualified to compete at Nationals in girls’ breakaway as did Ryter Ekker in rifle shooting. Nationals will be hosted in Lebanon, South Dakota in July.