The end of another season has come and gone, and the Colorado High School Rodeo Champions have been crowned.
Hundreds of boys and girls from across the state participate in high school rodeo, and the best of the best competed in late May in Craig.
One cowboy who faired very well was Jase Staudt of Nathrop, Colo., who was named the all-around champion, boys cutting champion, tie-down roping champion and team roping champion.
“It was a really good finals. I went in there in the standings in good faith, and did the best I could and made good, average runs. It was a big deal for me, and was tough because there were some solid kids who did three events as well,” he explained.
Last year, Staudt won the rookie all-around title at the national finals, where he competed in team roping and cutting after placing second in both events at the state contest.
It was his goal to get better at tie-down roping this year, which is exactly what he did.
“As far as calf roping, I was bigger and had more experience. I worked a lot harder at it this year. Having more experience was a big key. I roped really well, but wasn’t as good on the ground. So I tied a lot from the post, watched a lot of videos, and had some guys come to our house that really helped me get better and worked hard at it,” Staudt stated.
He rodeoed last fall to get more experience, and has roped every day to hone his skills.
“We rope every day. When I was in school, my dad and mom would have the horses caught and getting them saddled when I got home, and we would practice for several hours a day. Now that school is out, we ranch every day and rope every day,” he said.
He likes calf roping because of the challenge that is poses.
“I enjoy the difficulty that it brings to the table. You have to be, in my opinion, better. It requires more horsemanship than team roping, and it’s harder to be a good calf roper than a team roper. You are never going to have a perfect run. Something always goes wrong, so I enjoy that challenge,” said Staudt.
He is going to continue with his routine to prepare for the national event, and is looking forward to it.
“I plan on going there and competing and doing my best. I feel like I have a really good shot in my three events and want to do well, and I have a good shot at winning the all around. I feel pretty strong in all three events. It would be pretty cool to win,” he stated.
Staudt just finished his sophomore year of high school, and team ropes with his best friend Jhett Trenary of Salida, Colo.
“We get to rope together every day that we want to. We are super good friends, and are like family,” he said.
Another competitor who was named a champion was Alex Odle, a sophomore from Brush, Colo., who won the pole bending and was fourth in barrel racing.
“I was really exciting about winning poles. I went in at second place and didn’t expect to win. It got a little stressful and nerve wrecking. I had to make good runs and clean runs. I couldn’t play it safe,” she said.
Odle has been shooting for this goal since February when she started practicing.
“I do a lot of studying on pole bending. It has always been my favorite and my best event. I got more knowledgeable about it my sixth grade year after I won it in junior high,” she said.
The biggest thing to her is to make sure her horse is in shape.
“I don’t practice on her a lot, but I’m always working on keeping her in shape. I ride other horses, so I’m good on those too,” she explained.
Odle’s horse’s name is Uno, and she is the same age as Odle — 16.
“We bought her through some friends, and she had been in a pasture for two years. We bought her as a barrel horses and didn’t know she knew how to run poles. She knew it all, and we just needed to refresh her memory. I had no idea that she had poles in her background, and everything worked out,” she stated.
Even though she likes to socialize at the rodeos, when it’s time to compete, it’s serious business.
“I usually keep to myself. I make sure my focus is on me and my horse, nothing else. I have to think about it as just another run, nothing special,” Odle said.
She competed last year at the national finals in poles.
“I really want to win it this year. We have a few rodeos before that, and all those runs that I make before then I’ll be shooting for good times and cut it close to get faster,” she said.
Last year’s national champion in goat tying, Teisha Colffield of Yuma, Colo., is headed to the finals again this year in the same event where she placed fourth, as well as in breakaway roping, which she won this year.
“It meant a lot to win. For the four years so far that I’ve competed I’ve gotten second. It was really cool to actually win the breakaway roping. As for the goat tying, I had a goat get up the fourth round so that really cost me,” she said.
She worked really hard this year to get better at breakaway roping.
“We practiced really hard. Maturity wise I think that I’ve grown up a little bit more, and I got stronger so I was better able to rope my calves quicker. I like how quick it is: a split second and you are already done. It’s all about muscle memory,” she explained.
Colffield competes in barrels, poles, goat tying, breakaway roping, ribbon roping and team roping, but goat tying is her favorite. “My cousins got me into rodeo and they taught me to tie goats. My brother and I are really competitive. I always like tying goats, and I have goats at the house that I practice on. My goat horse I got as a barrel horse, and she’s been the best thing that has happened to me. I’ve been tying goats off of her since my seventh grade year,” she stated.
She hopes to compete well at the national finals to defend her title. “I’d really like the chance to repeat. It’s such an honor to get to go as it is. My grandpa is from up there and doesn’t travel much, and he comes down for nationals so it’s extra special that I get to share that with him,” Colffield said.
She just finished her junior year of high school, and loves being in rodeo.
“Thank you to my family and friends. Without them it wouldn’t be possible. It is a dream come true,” she said.
Trevor Reese of Boone, Colo., was the bareback riding champion.
“Winning my first championship was unlike anything else in the world,” he said.
Reese, who has been competing for three years, likes the companionship that comes from rodeo.
“Everybody competes to win, but at the end of the day we’re one big family who looks our for one another. That’s what friends are for,” he stated.
During his event, repetition was key.
“I just did what I always do; kept a humble attitude and kept having fun,” Reese stated. ❖
The top four in each event at the state finals will head to Rock Springs, Wyo., to compete in the high school national finals, which will be held July 13-19.