From left, Amber Salazar, Kinlie Brennise, Jaidyn Steele and Kasen Brennise hold their saddle awards Wednesday in the indoor arena at the Moffat County Fairgrounds. Amber, Jaidyn and Kasen took home saddles for winning the all-around points award in their respective age divisions in the Jacked Up Events Little Britches Rodeo Series in Rifle, while Jaidyn won reserve all-around in the junior girls division. Casey Barnes also won a saddle in the senior boys division and Trent Vernon won the reserve all-around in the junior boys division.

Photo by Joshua Gordon

From left, Amber Salazar, Kinlie Brennise, Jaidyn Steele and Kasen Brennise hold their saddle awards Wednesday in the indoor arena at the Moffat County Fairgrounds. Amber, Jaidyn and Kasen took home saddles for winning the all-around points award in their respective age divisions in the Jacked Up Events Little Britches Rodeo Series in Rifle, while Jaidyn won reserve all-around in the junior girls division. Casey Barnes also won a saddle in the senior boys division and Trent Vernon won the reserve all-around in the junior boys division.

Moffat County youths win saddles in Little Britches Rodeo Series

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Award Winners

Moffat County youth saddle award winners in the Jacked Up Events Little Britches Rodeo Series from October 2010 to March 27 in Rifle:

(Name — division)

• Casey Barnes — senior boys

• Kasen Brennise — junior boys

• Jaidyn Steele — junior girls

• Amber Salazar — little wranglers

— Kinlie Brennise was reserve all-around in junior girls and Trent Vernon was reserve all-around in junior boys.

When the Little Britches Rodeo winter session wrapped up March 27, six Moffat County youths walked away with awards and momentum with the summer session on the horizon.

The Jacked Up Events Little Britches Rodeo Series included 13 rodeos from October 2010 until the final rodeo March 27, all in Rifle.

Five saddles were given out for all-around cowboy or cowgirl, one in each age division, with the Moffat County youths brining home four of the five.

Amber Salazar won the little wranglers division saddle, Jaidyn Steele won the junior girls division saddle, Kasen Brennise won the junior boys division saddle and Casey Barnes won the senior boys division saddle.

The totals from all 13 rodeos were tallied for each division’s all-around category.

Kinlie Brennise, in the junior girls division, and Trent Vernon, in the junior boys division, won the reserve all-around awards for coming in second in their respective divisions.

“I was really excited when I won,” Kasen said. “I was up by 200 points heading into the last weekend over Trent and he cut the lead after the first day, but I held on.”

Kasen, 11, began participating in rodeo at 5 years old because of his parents, Scott and Shelia Brennise.

Now, six years later, Kasen said he enjoys the sport with his sister, Kinlie.

“It is a lot of fun that Kinlie and I are both doing rodeo together,” he said. “During the events, she helps me prepare and get focused and then I can do the same for her before her events.”

Families have helped get all of the saddle winners into the sport, including Jaidyn and Trent, whose older siblings competed in last year’s Little Britches Rodeo finals.

Kasen said the families help create a support system and each family becomes friends.

“My favorite part about the rodeo is the friends I have made,” he said. “You spend a lot of time with everyone, like we all practice every week in the Steele’s barn, so we become friends.”

Buckles were also given out after the final rodeo for the best overall performance in each individual event over the course of the series.

Kasen won goat tying and flag racing in the junior boys division, while Trent won the dolly-ribbon roping and the team roping in the same division.

Amber, 8, won all four events in the little wranglers division — barrel racing, pole bending, goal tail untying and flag racing — making it a clean sweep.

“I have been doing barrels the longest, so it is my favorite,” she said. “So, it was exciting to win all of the events.”

Kinlie won the buckle in breakaway roping for the junior girls division and Jaidyn won the barrel racing, pole bending and trail course.

Both Kinlie and Jaidyn said their best event is the event their horses like the most.

“Trail course is my favorite because it is my horse’s favorite,” said Jaidyn. “My horse does a good job with all the obstacles like the bridge and opening the gate.”

“My horse loves the barrels and is good at it, so that is our favorite event,” said Kinlie, 10.

Still, despite the drive to win, the cowboys and cowgirls cheer for their friends.

“I always want my friends to do well, like Trent,” Kasen said. “I may lose if he does well, but I will always cheer him on.”

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