Junior High State Champs
Moffat County also has five junior high representatives who will compete at the national finals in Gallup, N.M. June 23 through 29.
Kasen Brennise — goat-tying (state champ), breakaway roping (state champ), chute dogging, ribbon roping
Kinlie Brennise — breakaway roping (state champ), goat tying, barrel racing, ribbon roping
Jaidyn Steele — breakaway roping, goat tying
Madison Weber — team roping
Yancey Weber — team roping
Moffat County will be well represented at the National High School Rodeo Finals in Rock Springs, Wyo. July 14 through 20.
Three cowboys from the county qualified for the nationals by placing in the top four in their events at the Colorado State Rodeo Finals June 5 through 9. They also had two state champions and several other placing inside the state’s top 10.
Casey Barnes, of Maybell, recently finished his junior year of high school and followed it up with a state championship in steer wrestling after just one year of learning the event. He also took fifth in team roping with brother Cutter Barnes and 10th in calf roping, which was good enough to win the state all-around competition as well.
Barnes placed third in the season-long all-around points championship for Colorado. It was a fun week at state, he said, with the results he earned.
“I was pretty excited,” Barnes said. “I was pretty happy to win and get to go to nationals in bulldogging (steer wrestling).”
It will be Barnes’ first trip to nationals, but he’ll be there with two others who attended last year.
Wyatt Uptain finished third in bronc riding and fourth in calf roping. He will attend nationals in both events and finished second in the season-long all-around competition.
Garrett Buckley is the other cowboy from Moffat County heading to Rock Springs next month after completing a dominant senior season in bronc riding. Buckley won almost every rodeo he attended in the event and took home every buckle available at the state meet — first, second and third runs at state, as well as the overall state championship.
Winning at state was especially sweet for Buckley this year since he had to sit and watch with a broken collarbone during state last year.
“I was really tickled about" winning, he said. “Last year was a big bummer having to just watch it, and then being able to jump out there and win all three rounds, I was happy.”
Bow Richardson, Hunter Richardson, Taylor Duzik, Garrett Uptain, Denton Taylor, Dusty Taylor and Trent Vernon also competed at the state rodeo, with a total of 13 top-15 finishes from Moffat County.
Buckley’s collarbone healed in time for nationals last year, so he knows a bit more of what to expect. For Barnes, Rock Springs will be new, but he’s looking forward to it.
“I’m just excited to be going and seeing what I can do,” he said. “Seeing what it’s like there.”
The national rodeo will pit the top four qualifiers from 47 states, Canada and Australia in each event, so winning or placing near the top can hinge on a variety of factors, including drawing good stock in each event. Regardless of their results at nationals, the boys are excited to be going.
“There’s a lot to it,” said Joyce Barnes, Casey’s mother. “It’s a lot of miles, going all over the state every weekend. The high school has been super supportive, and the teachers have too when they have to miss school.”
Rodeo events require a great deal of time practicing, along with support from a variety of people, in order to master them. The boys are happy to have that going with them to Rock Springs.
“We just want to thank all the supporters and everyone that's helped us,” Buckley said. “Thank God for sure. My family, friends, everyone that’s helped. I really appreciate it.”
Nate Waggenspack can be reached at 970-875-1795 or firstname.lastname@example.org