Fifth place popular finish for MCHS rodeo team at state

If they only made galoshes that could fit over horseshoes.

That may not have been the exact thoughts of the high school students competing in the Colorado State High School Rodeo Association's state finals last week but the rain and mud consumed their preparations.

"A lot of the results in the first two rounds were luck of the draw," Moffat County High School sophomore Tia Brannan said. "The ground was really bad Tuesday and Thursday after a lot of rain. For the most part those who ran Friday had a drier go."

For junior Kelly White, the conditions played a role in what she said was a disappointing first two rounds.

"Some of the girls had horses who were good in the mud," she said. "My horse doesn't do real well in those conditions, and the girls with mudders did better."

White went into the rodeo tied for third place in barrel racing, with the top-four finishers qualifying for the National High School Rodeo Association Rodeo in Farmington, N.M. Her third-place ride in the short-go Saturday wasn't enough to make up for not scoring any points in the first two rounds of the event and she finished fifth in the overall standings.

"When everything was dry, I ran great," she said about the short-go Saturday in which she also placed 10th in pole bending. "I needed Shelby (Jackson, who finished the season in third) to hit a barrel in her final run and she had a great run instead."

White ended up six points from fourth. Fifth place was a popular spot for Moffat County rodeo members as White's freshman sister, Becky, finished seven points out of fourth in pole bending and Brannan missed a trip to the national rodeo by one spot and 9.5 points.

"Things just didn't go our way," Brannan said. "If I could have done better in the average I may have made it, but it just didn't work out that way."

Brannan finished fifth in the first round of goat tying, but missed the top 10 in her second round. At state, a rider earns points for placing in the first two rounds as well as points for being in the top ten of the average of the first two rounds. Brannan was in the top ten in the average, but, as she said, it wasn't high enough.

"I think, considering the conditions, things went well," she said. "I never really had a great run, but sometimes that's the way it goes."

A group of great runs came together for the MCHS team Saturday in pole bending as Becky White, Chelsey Schnackenberg, Kendel Fawcet and Kelly White earned second, third, sixth and 10th respectively.

In all, the team had 11 top-10 finishes. Schnackenberg placed twice in pole bending and earned second place in the average, moving her overall spot from 12th before the rodeo, to ninth.

Brannan roped her way to fourth place in the first round of breakaway roping, raced to seventh in the second go of barrel racing, and tied at ninth place in the short-go in goat tying. Becky White took eighth in the first round of pole bending while Tori Zimmerman scored points in the season finale with ninth place in goat tying in her second round.

Any member finishing from fifth to ninth place in the overall season ranking for an event earned a spot in the Silver State International Rodeo in Fallon, Nev. Schnackenberg plans to compete at Silver State with her ninth-place finish in pole bending.

Brannan and the White sisters qualified but plan to attend the Invitation Junior Rodeo, a different organization that holds rodeos during the school year as well. They all finished in the top four for an event in those rodeos, earning a spot to compete in the IJR rodeo in Shawnee, Okla., in July.

"Being invited to that rodeo is a prestigious honor as well," Brannan said. "It will be a nice end to the season, but I'm already looking forward to the fall."

"It would have been nice to go to nationals again," Kelly White said. "But I saw my best friend get to go for the first time in her last year and that made the weekend worth it. I always have next year."

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