Jaidyn Steele (right) and Mattie Jo Duzik compete in junior team roping at the Moffat County Little Britches Rodeo. Steel and Duzik were one of several teams made up of local children to take part in rodeos over the weekend at the Moffat County Fairgrounds.

Photo by Nate Waggenspack

Jaidyn Steele (right) and Mattie Jo Duzik compete in junior team roping at the Moffat County Little Britches Rodeo. Steel and Duzik were one of several teams made up of local children to take part in rodeos over the weekend at the Moffat County Fairgrounds.

Little Britches in Craig serves as late season tune-up for national competition

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A rodeo cowboy heads the steer Sunday during junior team roping at the Moffat Country Little Britches Rodeo at the Moffat County Fairgrounds. The Little rodeo attracted 75 contestants from three different states, and was one of the final rodeos before the Little Britches National Championships July 23 in Pueblo.

Quotable

“This is a really competitive part of the country for rodeo. In Moffat County we’ve probably got as high of a national champions per capita as anywhere else.”

—Sheila Brennise, Moffat County Little Britches Rodeo Secretary, about the high-level of rodeo competitors in Craig and Moffat County

The National Little Britches Rodeo Association came to Craig Friday through Sunday during the Moffat County Little Britches Rodeo at the Moffat County Fairgrounds.

The NLBRA, which hosts rodeos in 26 states year-round, is for children ages 5-18 to either get their start in rodeo or be able to compete outside of junior high and high school competition.

It’s season starts in August and ends with the National Little Britches Finals Rodeo at the end of July.

With the finals coming up soon, the Moffat County rodeo represented the last chance for some cowboys and cowgirls to perfect the resumes they’ve built over the past year and earn a spot at nationals.

According to MCLBR Secretary Sheila Brennise, who has children competing in Little Britches, Moffat County has hosted a Little Britches-sanctioned rodeo for years, but they decided to downsize in recent years.

“We used to get about 250 contestants to this rodeo a few years back,” Brennise said. “Now its gotten a bit smaller, but that can also make it a smoother event.”

Brennise said the rodeos this weekend (Friday, Saturday and Sunday events each counted individually) had 75 participants show up from three states.

Despite the small turnout compared to other rodeos, Brennise said this rodeo would see a higher percentage of its participants go to the Finals Rodeo than most others.

“This is a really competitive part of the country for rodeo. In Moffat County we’ve probably got as high of a national champions per capita as anywhere else,” she said.

Craig had individuals acquit themselves well in the junior and senior age groups in both boys and girls divisions.

Casey Barnes won the senior boys (ages 14-18) all-around, while Dusty Taylor was named the junior boys (ages 8-13) all-around champion.

Several of the Craig cowboys and cowgirls have aspirations beyond their accomplishments at the Moffat County Fairgrounds. As of Sunday evening, the NLBRA website has natives of Craig ranked in the top 20 nationally in all-around points in each of the four older divisions.

Wyatt Uptain is rated third and Barnes fifth in the senior boys division, while Kasen Brennise and Cutter Barnes are 11th and 20th, respectively, in the junior boys.

On the girls side, Taylor Duzik is 12th in the senior girls and Kinlie Brennise, Jaidyn Steele and Mattie Jo Duzik are all in the top 15. Sheila Brennise says that success is due to their work ethic.

“These kids work hard, the work ethic on these rodeo kids is excellent,” she said. “To be at the top in rodeo you have to do it year-round, and they understand that and do it.”

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