Moffat County High School senior Wyatt Uptain rides saddle bronc at the Moffat County Fairgrounds Wednesday. Uptain is among the best in the state of Colorado on the saddle bronc and second in the state in All-Around points this rodeo season. The MCHS rodeo team, which has five seniors this year, will compete at the Colorado High School State Rodeo June 5-9.

Photo by Nate Waggenspack

Moffat County High School senior Wyatt Uptain rides saddle bronc at the Moffat County Fairgrounds Wednesday. Uptain is among the best in the state of Colorado on the saddle bronc and second in the state in All-Around points this rodeo season. The MCHS rodeo team, which has five seniors this year, will compete at the Colorado High School State Rodeo June 5-9.

Moffat County rodeo team ready for state

The Moffat County High School rodeo team is looking to show how great a group from a small town can be.

The group of Bulldogs has made its mark all over the Colorado high school rodeo scene during the 2013 season. Now, it’s about finishing strong for the group of seniors whose high school careers are coming to an end.

Several Bulldogs are among the best in the state at their respective events, with the Colorado State High School Finals coming up June 5 through 9 in Lamar. At those events, the best from Moffat County will look to hold onto their top-four positioning or crack the top four in order to qualify for nationals.

“Everyone’s doing really good,” said Bow Richardson, a senior bareback rider for the Bulldogs. “We’ve got a really good team in the state right now. We’re one of the best.”

The results from the rodeo season back up Richardson’s claim. He currently is fifth in the bareback riding, while brother Hunter sits in 13th in bull riding.

Senior Wyatt Uptain is second in the all-around points competition, third in tie-down roping, sixth in steer wrestling and third in saddle bronc this year. Teammate Garrett Buckley currently is first in the saddle bronc in Colorado this year, posting a nearly perfect 98.5 through 10 rodeos.

Taylor Duzik, Denton Taylor, Garrett Uptain and Cutter and Casey Barnes also all are in the top 10 in Colorado in at least one event, as well. It’s been an impressive showing across the board for the Bulldogs, which they attribute to their hard work and a life filled with rodeos.

“I was being dragged to rodeos when I was little,” Buckley said. “It’s been a part of my life pretty much all the way through.”

The Richardsons have not been competing for as long as some of their teammates, but as part of the tight-knit group that has gotten a great deal of support from family and community members as they have traveled across the state for rodeos.

“We’re all thankful for our families and sponsors,” Bow Richardson said. “Putting up with all the traveling and all the time it takes up.”

Now, all that’s left for the team this year is to finish as strong as it started. For Buckley, state and nationals will be especially sweet this year after he broke a collarbone late in the 2012 season and had to miss the final few rodeos.

“The biggest thing is staying healthy,” he said. “I broke my collarbone and missed out last year. You’ve got to stay strong, stay mentally in it and keep a good mind.”

Nate Waggenspack can be reached at 970-875-1795 or nwaggenspack@craigdailypress.com

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