Big-time rodeos befit Moffat County’s skill set
Kinlie Brennise shines in opening round of national finals
Amid a field of hundreds of competitive cowboys and cowgirls, the teens of Moffat County have held their own in the past two weeks.
Northwest Colorado athletes rode hard, roped quickly and stayed strong while attending two of their biggest venues of the summer: the International Finals Youth RodeoInternational Finals Youth Rodeo, in Shawnee, Oklahoma, and the , in Shawnee, Oklahoma, and the National High School Finals RodeoNational High School Finals Rodeo, in Gillette, Wyoming., in Gillette, Wyoming.
The youngest of the bunch to be in both events had some of the best results.
Kinlie Brennise, an incoming sophomore at Moffat County High SchoolMoffat County High School, finished the opening round of the NHSFR in first place of all girls from across the country in breakaway roping with a time of 2.13 seconds., finished the opening round of the NHSFR in first place of all girls from across the country in breakaway roping with a time of 2.13 seconds.
Moffat County High School, finished the opening round of the NHSFR in first place of all girls from across the country in breakaway roping with a time of 2.13 seconds.
The accomplishment bolstered her confidence for the remainder of the rodeo, though repeating the feat was a tough time. By the conclusion of the third round, she stood in fifth in the average, which more than qualified her the short round.
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Unfortunately, the animals involved had other plans, Kinlie roping her way to finish 16th to wrap up her first year competing at the high school level.
“I didn’t draw a good calf in the last round, but I’m blessed to get as far as I did,” she said.
In addition to competing in goat tying at nationals, she placed eighth in the All-Around Rookie Cowgirl standings, specifically for competitors in their first year of high school.
Maybell’s Cutter Barnes also made the top 10, ninth in the All-Around Cowboy list.
Barnes had a rough time in the opening rounds of the steer wrestling but bounced back late in the third round to take fifth in his performance wave and 40th in the overall average.
Paired with Dusty Taylor, the two of them also won 37th in the average for the team roping, while Taylor was No. 22 in the solo tie down roping.
Garrett Uptain looked to maintain his high standards after a dominating high school season in the saddle bronc event that culminated with a state title for him. However, a national championship didn’t pan out, as he wound up tied for 26th.
“Sometimes, you do really well, and it’s easy,” he said. “Sometimes, you get in a slump, and you can’t ride anything. It happens to everyone. You just have to blow it off and keep going.”
Both Garrett and his older brother, Wyatt, have also been working the Steamboat Springs Pro Rodeo Series, among other events this season.
Garrett plans to compete in rodeo for Sheridan College in Sheridan, Wyoming, this fall, while Taylor is en route to University of Wyoming and Barnes to Central Arizona College in Casa Grande, Arizona.
The national finals in Gillette last week were preceded by the International Finals Youth Rodeo, which got those bound for nationals in gear, as well as Maybell’s Trent Vernon and Kinlie Brennise’s brother, Kasen.
Barnes and Taylor finished the Shawnee event with a cash prize of $549 after tying for fifth in the first go, ending it 10th overall. Garrett Uptain placed seventh in the saddle bronc, while Kinlie had great first and third rounds in IFYR’s breakaway, tying for second in the opener and third in the finale, walking away with more than $2,100 from the elite event, which is known as “the world’s richest youth rodeo.”
Other highlights included Taylor, Barnes, Vernon and Kasen Brennise all in the tie down roping, Taylor ranked 33rd, Barnes 46, Kasen 65 and Vernon 74. Vernon also teamed with La Junta’s Kelly Valdez to go 18th in team roping, while Barnes was 17th in steers and Kinlie placed 49th in goat tying, 68th in pole bending and 76th in barrel racing.
Kinlie and Kasen placed 13th in team roping, and the sibling duo plans to keep getting stronger. With one last big summer event coming up — the Colorado Junior Rodeo AssociationColorado Junior Rodeo Association finals in August in Lamar — they’ll soon be right back in the high school season by September. finals in August in Lamar — they’ll soon be right back in the high school season by September.
Colorado Junior Rodeo Association finals in August in Lamar — they’ll soon be right back in the high school season by September.
“I really want us to get to nationals together,” Kinlie said of her brother and teammate.
Contact Andy Bockelman at 970-875-1793 or Contact Andy Bockelman at 970-875-1793 or abockelman@CraigDailyPress.com or follow him on Twitter @CDP_Sports.Contact Andy Bockelman at 970-875-1793 or abockelman@CraigDailyPress.com or follow him on Twitter @CDP_Sports.
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Craig Middle School staff will continue to wear masks this week, and two other schools in the district are close to doing the same, according to numbers from the Moffat County School District’s COVID-19 dashboard.