Winning an all-around title is a goal that many rodeo competitors strive for.
It requires dedication, discipline and talents in several events.
Jase Staudt, an incoming sophomore from Nathrop, Colo., claimed the rookie all-around title at this year’s National High School Finals Rodeo, held in Rock Springs, Wyo., July 14-20.
“It was fun. It was the time of my life. I knew that I had a good chance to win going into it, and as the week kept going on I knew I would have a good shot if I took care of business,” he said.
He added, “I went to Gallup for junior high finals, and this a step above that. It was very cool.”
Staudt competed in the boys cutting and team roping events, where he placed 19th and fifth, respectively.
His team roping partner, Jhett Trenary, Salida, Colo., is his best friend.
The pair posted a time of 42.44 seconds on three runs.
“We were excited to do that well,” Staudt said. “I have been team roping since I was seven or eight years old. I’ve been roping with Jhett forever. Our dads roped together for a long time and he only lives about 15 minutes from me.”
To prepare for the finals, the duo practiced hard for several days preceding the event. “My partner and I got together and we used my family’s steers and we roped around 100 steers in three days right before we went to Shawnee for the IFYR (International Finals Youth Rodeo). We made the top 15 in the team roping so we felt good when we got to Rock Springs,” he stated.
Stuadt credits his success to everyone who has helped him.
“I thank my parents and family for sacrificing as much as they do to give me the chance to rodeo,” he said.
He also credits his horses, CD and Shady. CD is his nine-year-old heading horse.
“I really get along good with him. He fits my style of roping. I bought him when he was six and he was just started and then I finished him,” Staudt said.
Shady is his 10-year-old cutting horse, which his family originally bought to be a heeling horse.
“She is super cool. She was a cutting reject and she was training to be a team roping horse. She took up cutting really easily and remembered a lot of stuff and it’s fun to use her,” he said.
Staudt was the Rookie All-Around Cowboy at the Colorado state finals as well. He placed second in both team roping and cutting at that event and was in the top 15 in calf roping.
Staudt enjoys rodeo because of the time it allows him to spend with his family.
“I enjoy the family time that we get to spend with each other. I enjoy how rodeo is a family deal and it’s not like other sports where it is for one age group. My little brother as well as parents can all compete,” he stated.
Even though he is only entering his sophomore year, Staudt already has big plans for the future. “I want to go to college and rodeo there, and eventually compete in the PRCA,” he said.
The bull riding event was won by Wyoming cowboy Bryce Burnell of Arvada, Wyo., who scored 225 points on three head.
“It means quite a lot to me to win. It was a great way to kick off my pro rodeo career,” he said.
Burnell split fourth in the first round, was sixth in the second round and was sixth in the short go.
This was his third year competing at National High School Finals Rodeo.
He was 16th as a junior, and his goal for this year was to place in the top five. He won the event at the Wyoming State Finals.
Burnell, who received his PRCA card a few months ago, began his rodeo career at the tender age of four, when he competed in his first mutton bustin’ event.
“It progressed up from there with calves at the county fair. Then I got into bulls. I love the rush,” he stated.
Burnell comes from a rodeo family, but he is the first bull rider.
“I’ve been on a couple of saddle bronc horses, but it just wasn’t as exciting for me,” he explained.
To prepare for the finals, he competed at several PRCA rodeos.
He also continued with his regular training of working out to keep in shape and taking advice from professionals.
Burrell will be attending Casper College this fall to pursue rodeo and a welding degree.
“I will mainly rodeo, and when I can’t rodeo I will weld and go out in the workforce,” he said.
He originally found his talent for welding in a class at his high school.
“I don’t like schooling much, but welding was one of the classes you didn’t have book work and I found it kind of cool,” he said.
Another local high school student who claimed a state title was Teisha Coffield, Yuma, Colo., winner of the goat tying event with a combined time of 23.16 seconds on three runs.
After a week of competition that featured nearly 1,500 contestants from all across the U.S., Canada and Australia, the 2013 National High School Finals Rodeo National Champions were crowned at the Sweetwater Events Complex in Rock Springs.
Idaho’s Garrett Smith made history when he became the first three-time NHSFR All-Around Cowboy. Smith won his titles in consecutive years (2011-13) and even picked up a Rookie All-Around Cowboy title as a freshman in 2010. This year, he competed at the NHSFR in six events, earning a trip to the short round in boys cutting (where he finished second overall), steer wrestling (sixth overall and won the short round) and saddle bronc riding (fourth).
For the second straight year, a freshman won the All-Around Cowgirl title as Raelee Self of Texas picked up the win after taking the top spot in pole bending and finishing seventh in barrel racing. She finished just ahead of fellow Texas pole bender/barrel racer/freshman Sissy Winn. Self was the pole bending champion at the 2012 National Junior High Finals Rodeo in Gallup, N.M.
The top 20 contestants, based on their two-head average times and scores, advanced to the short round on Saturday night, where they competed in front of a packed house and cameras from RFD-TV’s Cinch High School Rodeo Tour.
National champions were determined by their three-head average scores and earned awards that included college scholarships, custom Gist Silversmiths buckles, Tod Slone saddles, as well as products from Cinch Jeans and Shirts, Ariat Boots, Resistol Hats, Professional’s Choice and more. ❖