Garrett Buckley, a Moffat County High School rodeo athlete, competes in the saddle bronc riding championship round of the Colorado State High School Rodeo finals Sunday at the Moffat County Fairgrounds. Buckley won the championship round, and placed fourth overall. He will compete for the Colorado national rodeo team in July.

Photo by Joshua Gordon

Garrett Buckley, a Moffat County High School rodeo athlete, competes in the saddle bronc riding championship round of the Colorado State High School Rodeo finals Sunday at the Moffat County Fairgrounds. Buckley won the championship round, and placed fourth overall. He will compete for the Colorado national rodeo team in July.

MCHS rodeo athletes make national team

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Results

Results from championship round of the State High School Rodeo finals:

Bareback riding

(Name — hometown)

  1. Dylan Wahlert — La Junta

  2. Zach Nicely — Golden

  3. Levi Nicholson — Windsor

Breakaway roping

  1. Hayden Segelke — Snyder

  2. Katelyn McRee — Pagosa Springs

  3. Paxton Segelke — Snyder

Steer wrestling

  1. Donnie White — Fowler

  2. Keenan Wahlert — La Junta

  3. Tylor Bond — Avondale

Pole bending

  1. Kaitlyn Jones — Hotchkiss

  2. Hayley Hensley — Dolores

  3. Skylar Eagles — Center

Tie-down roping

  1. Hayden Pearce — Kim

  2. Garrett Bukowski — Falcon

  3. Rhet Neugebauer — La Junta

Goat tying

  1. Hayden Segelke — Snyder

  2. Mercedes Trenary — Salida

  3. Bailey Grasmick — La Junta

Saddle bronc riding

  1. Noah Blackwell — Parlin

  2. Wyatt Uptain — Craig

  3. Tanner Lockhart — Lewis

Barrel racing

  1. Hayden Segelke — Snyder

  2. Shay Spitz — Lamar

  3. Katelyn McRee — Pagosa Springs

Dally team roping

  1. Fort Lupton

  2. Sanford

Bull riding

  1. Casey Farrington — Collbran

  2. Ty Wallace — Collbran

  3. Colten Gardner — La Salle

Time and again, Garrett Buckley’s horse tried to buck him off Sunday at the Moffat County Fairgrounds.

Competing in the saddle bronc riding championship round during the Colorado State High School Rodeo finals, Buckley didn’t let the horse get the best of him.

“The run felt really good and really bad,” the Moffat County High School rodeo athlete said. “It felt good because I stayed with (the horse), but it felt bad because I took some bruises from her.”

Judges scored Buckley’s run 74 out of 100 — the best score of the championship round — to earn Buckley a championship belt buckle and the fourth and final spot on the Colorado national rodeo team.

The national team will compete in the national rodeo July 17 to 23 in Gillette, Wyo.

“It feels like I am standing on top of the world,” Buckley said after receiving his buckle. “Going to nationals is the best thing you can do in high school, so it feels great.”

Before and during the competition, Buckley said he had numerous thoughts running through his head.

From how to keep up with the horse to what position he needed his body to be in, he said it was a great ride.

The best part, he said, was when the horse leapt nearly 10 feet into the air.

“The horse beat me out of the gate, but when she jumped off the ground it was the best part of the entire run,” he said. “The run was really fast, and I knew I had to keep going and not fall off.”

Riders were required to stay on for 8 seconds for a qualifying run.

Buckley’s teammate, Wyatt Uptain, also competed in the saddle bronc riding championship round.

Unlike Buckley, however, Uptain was ranked second coming in and needed just three solid runs to keep his spot on the national team.

After a score of 60 on Sunday, Uptain will be joining Buckley in Gillette.

“I wish I could have done better this weekend, but it feels pretty cool to be part of the national team,” he said. “I had a horse I have hardly had practice with (on Sunday), so I wasn’t holding back.”

Uptain said he’s excited about seeing all the people and horses at the national rodeo, but even more excited about the competition level.

“The competition level is going to be way better than even the state event,” he said. “Confidence goes a long way in rodeos, so I just have to go in thinking I can beat anyone.”

Fellow MCHS rodeo athletes Ian and Taylor Duzik competed over the state weekend as well, but didn’t qualify for the national team.

Taylor said it wasn’t her best showing, but a strong season has her positive for next year.

“I made a few little mistakes both days, so it wasn’t my best. But, I only competed in half the rodeos during the season,” she said. “Next year I just need to be more consistent and stay mentally strong.”

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