Gabbi Steele stands Sunday with the saddle she won at the Moffat County Little Britches Rodeo at the Moffat County Fairgrounds. Steele, in her last year of junior girls competition, won her second career saddle.

Photo by Hans Hallgren

Gabbi Steele stands Sunday with the saddle she won at the Moffat County Little Britches Rodeo at the Moffat County Fairgrounds. Steele, in her last year of junior girls competition, won her second career saddle.

Saddles and more saddles

Moffat County Little Britches Rodeo 'a lot of fun'



Hannah Hegwer and Jessie Snowden compete in the senior team roping event Sunday at the Little Britches Rodeo at the Moffat County Fairgrounds.

Moffat County Little Britches Rodeo winners

Name Event

Tyler Ferguson Jr. boys bareback

Warren Stairs Sr. boys bareback

Tyler Miles Sr. boys saddle bronc

Lasea Branson Sr. girls trail course

Caleb Hendrix LW flag race

Kristina Reyes Jr. girls trail course

Kamryn Boucher Jr. boys breakaway

Tatum Hughes LW goat tail untie

Matt Spurling Sr. boys tie down roping

Jeni Lorimor Sr. girls barrels

Kristina Reyes Jr. girls goat tying

Shane Hancock Jr. boys flag race

Taylor Engesser Jr. girls breakaway

Hunter Brasfield Jr. boys goat tying

Tatum Hughes LW barrels

Chance Kittel Sr. boys steer wrestling

Chase Bowers Jr. boys bull riding

Sarah Gunkel Sr. girls goat tying

Taylor Engesser Jr. girls barrels

Treyele Gotschall Sr. girls breakaway

Tatum Hughes LW poles

Gabbi Steele Jr. girls poles

Cody Miles/Tyler Miles Sr. team roping

Sheanna Shipley Sr. girls poles

Hunter Brasfield/

Brittanny Brasfield Jr. girls dally ribbon roping

Dusty Shaw/Blake Chide Jr. team roping

Dakota Kling Sr. boys bull riding

Craig resident Gabbi Steele knew if she was to win a saddle while competing in the junior girls division of Little Britches Rodeo, she needed to do it now.

Steele moves on to the senior girls division beginning in the fall, so the Moffat County Little Britches Rodeo on Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday at the Moffat County Fairgrounds, was her last chance.

Steele didn't disappoint.

When the dust had settled on the four-day event and the final points were tallied, Steele captured a saddle (awarded to the first-place finisher in his or her chosen event) in junior girls pole-bending.

"I gave it my all," Steele said. "I went out there just trying to be myself and not to worry about anybody else. I figured if I did that, everything would take care of itself."

Steele beat 42 other competitors to claim her second career saddle.

"I was in just about every event, but poles are my favorite," she said. "This was my last event as a junior, and it's my hometown rodeo. I'm really happy I won."

More than 200 cowboys and cowgirls from the western states of the U.S. attended the rodeo, so as far as the strength of the competition goes, only the National Finals beginning later this month in Pueblo, has more contestants.

"There had to be at least 600 people out here," MCHS senior Eric Fleming said. "This is a really big event and it's in our hometown."

Fleming said the weekend didn't go as well as he had hoped, but he was happy with his finish.

Fleming placed second in Sr. boys bareback, a finish he said he thought could have been better had he not drawn the same horse that knocked him from the High School state rodeo finals in June.

"I felt like I was doing all right the first two days, then I got that same darn horse again," he said. "It was the same horse that got me at state. I was in first up until I drew that horse.

"It makes me want to keep riding, but I can't. It's done."

Fleming also placed ninth in steer wrestling and bull riding.

Troy Vernon placed second in Sr. boys tie down, third in Sr. boys bull riding and teamed with his sister, Taylor, to place 16th in team roping.

"I'm not really happy with second," Troy Vernon said. "I could have rode better. It was still fun, I just wish I did better."

In other senior team roping results, Fleming paired with Chance Kittel earning 19th, Gabby Miller and Jesse Moser earned 20th and Hannah Hegwer and Jessie Snowden finished 23rd.

"It was a lot of fun," Moser said. "I needed to be more aggressive, but it is by far the most fun rodeo of the year."

Hegwer said the rodeo didn't go as she had planned, but heading into her senior year of high school in the fall, she added she's learned a lot for next year's high school competition.

"I met a lot more people out here this weekend," she said. "I learned a lot from it. I'll be better next year. You'll see."

Parachute residents - and brothers - Cody and Tyler Miles, cleaned up this weekend.

The closest competition for the brothers was each other.

Tyler picked up three saddles - giving him 17 in his career - while his brother won two more to add to his High School state championship earned earlier this summer.

"My biggest competition is my brother," Cody said. "We push each other."

Cody is moving on to college, and Tyler knows the stage is set for him to excel on his own.

"It's going to be different now that Cody is going to be gone," he said. "We don't like to lose. It's never easy, but it's definetly not going to be easy now."

The top seven places earned prizes.

Craig had many cowboys and cowgirls fall into that category.

Gabbi Steele placed third in Jr. girls trail course and Jaidyn Steele third in Little Wranglers flag racing.

Wyatt Uptain placed fourth in Jr. boys goat tying and McKenzie Miller fourth in LW poles.

Kinlee Brennise - who also was crowned National Little Britches Rodeo Princess - placed fifth in LW flag racing, Trent Vernon fifth in Jr. boys flag racing and Taylor Vernon placed fifth in Sr. girls poles.

Sixth-place awards went to Kasen Brennise in LW goat tail untie, Troy Vernon in Sr. boys tie down and Trent Vernon in Jr. boys goats.

Kinlie Brennise also placed seventh in LW goat tail untie and LW barrels.

When all was said and done, more than 30 saddles, 100 belt buckles and numerous other rodeo tack had changed hands.

"This is as good as rodeo gets," Fleming said. "To have this many people all come together for the same reason makes it all worth it."


moconative 8 years, 9 months ago

I want to give these kids and parents a hand. First of all, this sport takes a LOT of dedication from both the parents and the kids. These rodeo parents dedicate weekends traveling, weekdays training, and a lot of money to do both for their kids. You most likely won't see these kids getting into a lot of trouble in our community because they are either with their parents or training. I'm not saying they are angels because they do get into trouble and do some pretty good pranks, but it's usually not criminal. With the price of gas and everything else that has gone up, taking these kids to rodeos, I'm sure, has become harder and harder. I hope that rodeo in general can keep alive in these trying times. And again! Good job to both the kids and the parents!!!


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