Moffat County rodeo stars gallop toward nationals |

Moffat County rodeo stars gallop toward nationals

Craig’s Yancey Weber wins state team roping honors; Kinlie Brennise all-around points winner

The quagmire of the Moffat County Fairgrounds this past weekend didn't make the sport of rodeo an easy one, but those who went into the mud fighting hard have come out clean on the other side and ready for more.

Moffat County will send five high school and middle school level rodeo competitors to the national finals this summer, following the Colorado State High School and Junior High Rodeo Association Finals event held in Craig during Memorial Day weekend.

Highly ranked in all-around junior high points for the majority of the season, Kinlie Brennise claimed the overall title in total points with 791.5. Her final weekend of competition in the middle school age bracket — she'll attend Moffat County High School as a freshman this fall — was a trying one, as her expectation of winning the girls breakaway roping event fell apart thanks to a tricky calf on her first day.

"I came in leading and then with some unfortunate luck, I pitched it over his head and wound up getting a no-time in that," she said.

Kinlie still had more than enough points won during the past months to take third in breakaway, where she will compete at the Junior High National Finals in June in Des Moines, Iowa.

"It's my third year there, so I don't think I'll be as nervous," she said. "This year, I'm the first Colorado girl in ribbon roping to go as a roper (instead of a runner)."

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Out of the six total events she went into at state — also including barrel racing and pole bending — she made the mark for nationals in three more, third in ribbon roping teamed with Loma's Rory Beach and second place in both goat tying and team roping, the latter with Braxton Morgan, of Avondale.

Kinlie's brother, Kasen, her previous roping partner, came close to his own national qualifying honors in high school, paired with Maybell's Cutter Barnes and placing sixth.

"It'll be different because I've always had him by my side, but he'll still be there helping me, he just won't be competing," Kinlie said of her sibling.

Moffat County's best individual finish at state came for Yancey Weber, who won the team roping with Yampa's Eric Logan, guaranteeing a ticket to the National High School Finals in July in Rock Springs, Wyoming.

Weber said his rapport with Logan — who also placed highly in other events and won all-around leader for the season — helped them do well in the arena.

"We get along so good, and we can talk about what we need to do to get it done," Weber said. "We've been making some solid rounds."

The other Wyoming-bound Craig roping team will consist of brothers Denton and Dusty Taylor, who tied for fourth to make it into the finals, which offers entry for the top four kids or pairs in each event.

The siblings were also fifth and seventh, respectively, in tie down roping, though just short of nationals.

Also headed to Rock Springs will be Garrett Uptain, who resides in Hayden and competes for Moffat County. After spending the fall healing a broken femur, he made a comeback in the spring to finish second in points within the saddle bronc riding event.

"I'm pretty happy with how it ended because anything I could possibly do to get in the standings I did," he said. "I'm pretty happy with what I accomplished this season."

Among Moffat County's other riders were Hamilton's Samantha Pearce, placing 15th in pole bending, and Trent Vernon, ninth in both tie down and team roping, with a strong performance in the latter alongside Kelly Valdez, of La Junta, that moved the duo up the final rankings.

Barnes will be on his way back to nationals, taking third in steer wrestling, as well as No. 3 in all-around points for the high school competition.

Though he also competed in reining and tie down roping, the steer event is Barnes' specialty, and he's one of only a few teens in the state bold enough to do it through CSHSRA, one contender breaking a hand earlier in the season.

"You just gotta have the right technique," Barnes said. "It's been pretty tough, I've been working really hard on it."

Contact Andy Bockelman at 970-875-1793 or or follow him on Twitter @CDP_Sports.

Colorado State High School and Junior High Rodeo Association Finals

Moffat County rodeo all-around standings

Athlete — Rank in state

Junior high rankings

Kinlie Brennise — 1

High school rankings

Cutter Barnes — 3

Denton Taylor — 6

Kasen Brennise — 9

Dusty Taylor — 10

Trent Vernon — 13

Garrett Uptain — 19

Yancey Weber — 22

Samantha Pearce — 39

Individual events, season results

Junior high

Event — Athlete(s), Rank

Barrel racing — Kinlie Brennise, 5

Breakaway roping — Kinlie Brennise, 3

Goat tying — Kinlie Brennise, 2

Pole bending — Kinlie Brennise, 7

Ribbon roping — Kinlie Brennise/Rory Beach, 5

Team roping — Kinlie Brennise/Braxton Morgan, 2

High School

Bull riding — Garrett Uptain, 5

Pole bending — Samantha Pearce, 15

Reining — Cutter Barnes, 7

Saddle bronc riding — Garrett Uptain, 2

Steer wrestling — Cutter Barnes, 3

Team roping — Yancey Weber/Eric Logan, 1; Denton Taylor/Dusty Taylor, 4; Cutter Barnes/Kasen Brennise, 6; Trent Vernon/ Kelly Valdez, 9; Garrett Uptain/Mariah Dermody, 19; Samantha Pearce/Zava Zupan, 25

Tie down roping — Denton Taylor, 5; Dusty Taylor, 7; Kasen Brennise, 8; Trent Vernon, 9; Cutter Barnes, 16