In the money

MCHS cowboys and cowgirls have success in Fort Collins

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— Heading into the Fort Collins rodeo last weekend, Taylor Vernon was hoping for a good showing from her horse, Lacey.

You see, Lacey is a 26-year old mare, and many of Taylor's competitors ride horses much younger.

Some, 20 years younger.

Taylor found out Lacey still has a little gas left in her tank, which put some money in Taylor's bank.

In high school rodeo, contestants earn cash as reward for their performances.

Taylor and Lacey finished in the money.

Taylor placed third Saturday out of 60 competitors in girls pole bending, earning $140.25. Sunday, she placed seventh, earning another $45.

A total of $185.25, for a weekend's worth of work.

"It means a lot" to win the money, Taylor said. "And now I know that Lacey can still do it. We are improving."

Taylor wasn't the lone Bulldog cowboy or cowgirl to show the team is warming up after what coach Jill Hegwer said was a "slow start" to the spring season.

Moffat County had been shutout of the money through its first three rodeos of the season.

"Our team had a great showing," Hegwer said. "Fort Collins is always a fun rodeo to attend because all the events are held inside a very nice complex. It is good to be inside when the wind is blowing constantly."

The team responded to the conditions, having its best weekend of the season.

Junior Eric Fleming decided to enter as many events as he can in an attempt to garner more points for the season-ending best all-around cowboy award.

Fleming entered calf roping, team roping, bull riding, steer wrestling and bareback riding.

"A lot of his events are back-to-back, which keeps both Eric and his parents Dave and Joan on the move," Hegwer said. "It's a huge challenge to be in so many events."

Fleming placed fourth both days in Bareback, earning 14 points; he placed fourth in Steer-wrestling on Sunday, earning another 7 points as well as $18 dollars.

Troy Vernon placed eighth in team roping and bull riding, earning three points for each event, tallying six for the weekend.

Hegwer said some of the team had a few issues that parlayed into finishes outside the top-10 (meaning no points or money earned).

Senior Stevie Brumback didn't place in any of her events, but the time she spent working with her currently rehabilitating horse, Drac, proved invaluable.

"My horse did great," Brumback said. "He is getting over a gate issue and is running good for me. We made smooth consistent runs, and I just made sure I helped to guide him through the runs and not get in his way. We improved our times and we also have some things to work on for next weekend."

Sophomore Matt Bohrer was riding his bull well until he "lost his feet and flipped over his hand," Hegwer said. "But it was a good effort anyway by Matt."

Sophomore Gabby Miller tied her goat in 14.16 seconds, but "unfortunately it was out of the money," Hegwer said.

Sophomore Jessie Moser competed in breakaway and team roping, but Hegwer said Jesse "had a rough weekend."

"I missed everything," Moser said.

Junior Hanna Hegwer had a solid run at her calf during the girls breakaway, but coach Hegwer said Hanna "was trying to be too quick."

"When she jerked her slack, she snapped the rope right off the calf's head."

The Bulldogs rodeo team competes this weekend in Latigo Trails Arena in Black Forest.

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