Rodeo team corrals first-place finishes

Moffat County High School cowboys and cowgirls find that practice is paying off

Tia Brannan knows how to tie up a rodeo.

Saturday and Sunday at the Fort Collins rodeo, the freshman cowgirl rounded up two first-place finishes in barrel racing and goat tying. The two top finishes are the first of the spring season for the Moffat County High School cowgirls and proved something to Brannan.

"My practice is really paying off," she said. "It's been a tough season so far and there's a lot of good competition out there."

Brannan isn't the only MCHS rodeo rider who is feeling the benefits of working out. The team placed six cowgirls and cowboys, including the second set of ropers. Sophomore George Raftopoulos and junior Luke Wilson placed sixth in team roping Sunday, and are only the second pair of cowboys from Moffat County to place so far this season.

Last week at the Golden rodeo, junior Austin Schell and his partner Hansen Vaughn rode to a sixth-place finish and broke the team's one rodeo drought for the boys. Schell was the first Moffat County cowboy to place but his partner isn't a student of MCHS. He is from Parshall.

Also at the competition, senior Shalea Pinnt finished seventh in breakaway roping.

Sophomore Kelly White placed in her third consecutive rodeo of the spring, collecting three places in two events. White finished seventh in barrel racing and sixth in pole bending Saturday.

She finished in ninth place Sunday in barrels.

"Kelly and Tia did great this weekend, especially considering how many riders showed up," coach Danette Webber said. "There were 91 girls in barrel racing and usually there's only around 70."

For the second week the MCHS cowgirls have added new names among their placers. Pinnt is one and freshman Shamra Simpson is the second. Simpson finished seventh in Saturday's goat tying competition.

"We've got our kids moving in the right direction," Webber said. "And we're keeping our numbers up, which is helping

us place."

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