Moffat County’s Kinlie Brennise snares breakaway roping state title
It never hurts to be prepared, an adage Kinlie Brennise appreciated more than ever Monday afternoon in the arena of Moffat County Fairgrounds.
Brennise will saddle up for the National High School Rodeo Finals this summer as the top breakaway roper in the state after a victory to conclude the season with Colorado State High School Rodeo Association.
The seasoned cowgirl, two days fresh from her graduation from Moffat County High School, won the title by a single point in the overall count by the end of the state finals at Moffat County Fairgrounds. Though she was right on the cusp of qualifying for nationals going into the weekend, it was three solid days of competition that saw her rise to the top of the rankings.
With third place in the first go Friday at 2.87 seconds and sixth in the second go Sunday — 3.34 — the combined time over the two days balanced out her final attempt in the short go.
The Monday breakaway round didn’t start well for her, as her first lasso toss failed to catch her calf. But, thanks to the rules of short go, she had the option of using a second loop, and her backup rope was ready.
Pursuing the calf to the opposite corner of the arena ate up some extra seconds, but she nonetheless got the job done before time elapsed, clocking in at 18.45 seconds for the day.
As it happened, Brennise was one of only three breakaway ropers to record scores all three days — and the only national qualifier to do so — earning third in the average scores, which ultimately put her in first place at 92 points to runner-up Tatum Runner’s 91.
Though she ended the year in second place in the all-around count, the breakaway championship meant much more.
“Breakaway was a strong point for me except for the short round, but it came out how I wanted it to,” she said.
Part of that was due to her older brother Kasen’s presence. During her junior year in 2018, her sibling, then an MCHS senior, was badly injured in the state finals. This year, she didn’t have to worry about him being in the hospital.
“He was here to help me out this time,” she said.
Brennise also qualified for nationals in barrel racing, ranked fourth by the end of the weekend. Though she was tied for the lead going into the state rounds, her horse fought her a bit Friday, and her subsequent finishes left her just out of placement.
Despite winning the average for her times in the weekend in goat tying and placing as highly as second in goats and pole bending, she just missed heading to nationals at fifth place in each once the overall scores were complete.
“Goats actually really surprised me. It was just a really good weekend,” she said.
The national finals run for a full week starting July 14 in Rock Springs, Wyoming, but Brennise will be hard at work before that, competing at summertime events including International Finals Youth Rodeo.
And, the fall will be just as busy as she heads to Texas to compete for Weatherford College alongside her brother.
Still, the time spent on the CSHSRA circuit has been excellent training for the higher levels, she said.
“I’ve made friends and met lots of families,” she said. “It’s definitely going to be hard to leave. It’s such a great association.”
With an above-average snowpack following a snowy winter, local firefighters and wildlife experts are expecting a mild fire season this year, especially at higher elevations.