Northern exposure |

Northern exposure

Jaguar Terrill takes to Wyoming for his high school rodeos

It’s hard to miss Jaguar Terrill when he arrives at a rodeo.

The black truck pulling a black horse trailer with a bright yellow jaguar painted on the side tends to stand out. But during the school year, the ranch on wheels is hard to find because Terrill does his high school rodeo competitions in Wyoming.

“Most of the rodeos are closer (than the ones in Colorado),” said the junior-to-be at Moffat County High School. “There are fewer mountain passes, and gas is cheaper in Wyoming.”

The Terrill family’s trailer, which includes a small apartment with kitchen, restroom and sleeping bunk, is a load. The family replaced three transmissions in the pickup they used to tow the trailer before purchasing a semi-truck on the Fourth of July in 2004. Terrill’s parents drive the semi, while Terrill studies or sleeps.

“It’s pretty nice,” he said. “But we’re not the only ones with one. There are a lot of them like it at the rodeos.”

Terrill is one of a kind when it comes to the Moffat County High School rodeo team. He’s the only Bulldog who competes in the Wyoming State High School Rodeo Association. He competes mostly in tie-down roping and team roping. His partner, Blake Henry, is from Glen Rock, Wyo.

“Most of my rodeo friends are from Wyoming,” he said. “I asked some friends about a partner and they suggested Blake.”

Henry and Terrill entered the Wyoming State High School Finals in 12th place in team roping. Despite an eighth-place finish in the first go, the duo slipped to 14th in the final standings.

“I had a couple of good runs, but I would have liked to have finished in the top 10,” he said. “Next year, we’ll be shooting for nationals.”

Terrill and several other Northwest Colorado cowboys and cowgirls compete in Wyoming.

“It’s as simple as filling out the paperwork,” he said. “It’s the same process as signing up for Colorado.”

Just like the Moffat County cowpokes in the Colorado State High School Rodeo Association, Terrill misses many Fridays during the school year to make it to a rodeo. Because the WSHSRA has four more rodeos, Terrill predicts he missed 12 or 13 Fridays during his sophomore year.

“My dad says as long as I get my homework done and keep my grades up I can rodeo,” he said. “It’s a lot of homework, but I have the room to do it when we travel.”

It’s not an easy task keeping his grades up considering Terrill’s standards. He has a 4.0 average through two years.

“My goals for next year are to maintain a 4.0 and qualify for nationals,” he said.

Rodeo has been a life-long hobby for the 16-year-old who moved to Craig seven years ago. Although he doesn’t rodeo in Colorado for the high school season, he still considers the Moffat County Fairgrounds his home arena.

“I’ve done a lot of roping here,” he said.

During the summer, Terrill said he and his parents travel to whatever rodeos come available.

Jaguar and the jaguar-painted trailer prowls all over the West. When Jaguar turns 18, he’ll be able to drive the rig himself. Until then he’ll be a bookworm on the road and a roper in the arena.

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