Moffat County High School Rodeo Nationals Qualifiers
Wyatt Uptain: saddle bronco
Wyatt Uptain and Denton Taylor: dally team roping
Garret Buckley: saddle bronco
“This is the first time I’ve qualified, and it should be fun…This is the biggest rodeo, I’m looking forward to seeing all the people, like from Australia and Canada.”
Garret Buckley, incoming MCHS senior, about qualifying for his first national rodeo. Buckley qualified in the bronc riding event.
The Moffat County High School rodeo team is sending three members to the national competition in Wyoming after solid performances at the state rodeo.
Rising seniors Wyatt Uptain and Garrett Buckley have qualified in saddle bronc (riding a saddled bronco for eight seconds), while Uptain and Denton Taylor, who just finished his freshman year at MCHS, qualified together in dally team roping.
The state competition was last Thursday through Sunday at Lamar Community College in Lamar. Buckley was unable to compete due to a broken collarbone, but his performance at rodeos earlier in the year was already good enough to qualify him for nationals.
Uptain, meanwhile, starred at the state competition, winning the all-around individual state championship and placing first in saddle bronc while he and Taylor finished third in team roping.
While it will be the first trip to nationals for Buckley and Taylor, Uptain is heading there for the second time.
“The biggest difference between nationals and state is that there is a lot more people, a lot more lights,” Uptain said.
Uptain said he enjoyed his experience at the nationals, held in Rock Springs, Wyo., last year, but he doesn’t have any major expectations for this year. He is happy to have teammates coming with him this time around.
For Buckley and Taylor, the trip to Rock Springs is one they are excited about.
“This is the first time I’ve qualified, and it should be fun,” Buckley said. “I watched Wyatt on a webcam last year, but you couldn’t see it all like being there. This is the biggest rodeo, I’m looking forward to seeing all the people, like from Australia and Canada.”
Taylor has been to the junior high rodeo nationals before, but he thinks the high school competition will be better.
“There will probably be more people, and it will be more exciting,” he said.
Taylor and Uptain became partners this year despite being two years apart because they have grown up with rodeo as a part of their lives.
“We’ve known each other all our lives,” he said. “Our parents did rodeo and practiced together.”
Uptain’s mother Kim confirmed she competed in team roping and barrel racing at rodeos, and that Wyatt was involved with Little Britches rodeos as early as age five. She was proud her son’s hard work has paid off.
“(Wyatt) is just a very good young man. He is always there to help the younger kids at rodeos before he rodeos,” she said. “His work ethic is second to none, and he gives up a lot to do rodeo, so it’s been nice to see that pay off.”
While she was proud of her son, Kim Uptain said she was also happy to see his teammates also succeed this year.
“It’s great because they are three young men who have grown up together, they support each other and now they’re on the national team together.”
The national rodeo will be in Rock Springs from July 15-21.
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