Troy Vernon, middle, readies himself to rush out of the gate. Vernon, who graduated Saturday, will attend Northwest College in Powell, Wyo. on a rodeo scholarship.

Photo by Hans Hallgren

Troy Vernon, middle, readies himself to rush out of the gate. Vernon, who graduated Saturday, will attend Northwest College in Powell, Wyo. on a rodeo scholarship.

3 MCHS rodeo team members receive scholarships to continue careers

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Rodeo rankings

MCHS rodeo team state athletes

Name : event : Ranking

Troy Vernon : Tie down roping : 18

: Team roping : 15

: Bull riding : 7

Eric Fleming : Tie down roping : 19

: Steer wrestling : 12

: Team roping : 10

: Bull riding : 20

Taylor Vernon : Goat tying : 20

With the Moffat County High School rodeo team's season almost over, coach Dave Fleming has reason to smile as his team prepares for the last few meets of the year.

And it has nothing to do with bucking broncos or goat roping.

"The best news is probably that three seniors graduated, and two will get full-ride scholarships, and another will have half her tuition paid because of rodeo," Fleming said.

Eric Fleming and Troy Vernon each received full rodeo scholarships to Northwest College in Powell, Wyo., and fellow senior Hanna Hegwer received a scholarship from Sterling College in Sterling, Kan.

"It's a good percentage - three out of three," Dave Fleming said. "It's satisfying to have all three of your seniors get into college."

Although the seniors have graduated, there still is more rodeo before they begin their college careers.

Eric Fleming and Vernon competed Monday in the Monte Vista High School Rodeo, with Vernon placing 10th in tie down roping.

"It's going to be a short week - we got back last night, and the boys both rode Saturday night (at the Lane Frost Challenge in Craig)," Fleming said. "Now, we're just getting ready for the three-day rodeo in Las Animas."

The team will be competing May 29 to May 31 in the Las Animas High School rodeo.

From June 11 to June 13, Eric Fleming, Vernon and Taylor Vernon will compete in Lamar at the Colorado High School State finals.

Taylor Vernon will compete in barrel racing, pole bending, breakaway roping and goat tying.

Troy Vernon will compete in bull riding, calf roping and team roping, and Eric Fleming will compete in bull riding, steer wrestling, calf and team roping.

Overall, Troy Vernon is ranked 12th in the state, and Eric Fleming is ranked 16th. The top four ranked cowboys and cowgirls in the state move on to nationals.

Dave Fleming, who will not return to the team next year, took over the team after the previous coach quit.

"There was nobody else, and I wanted to make sure Eric and the other seniors had a program for this year," he said. "We're having a decent season - just not performing quite to where we had hoped we would."

The three athletes going to state are having good seasons, Dave Fleming said.

In tie down roping, Troy Vernon is ranked 18th overall, and Eric Fleming is ranked 19th. In steer wrestling, Eric Fleming is ranked 12th.

Taylor Vernon is ranked 20th overall in goat tying.

In team roping, Eric Fleming is ranked 10th and Troy Vernon is ranked 15th overall, and in bull riding Vernon is ranked seventh and Fleming is 20th.

Dave Fleming said he had hoped one of his athletes had made it to nationals.

"We've done OK," he said. "I was hoping that maybe somebody would finish in the top four and make the national team. I don't think we're going to get there, but there are still three rodeos left, so you never know."

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