Northwest Colorado rodeo athletes lead fall rankings, prep for spring
Moffat County to host Colorado state rodeo finals for 2018, 2019
The brief fall beginnings have come and gone, and rodeo competitors of Northwest Colorado will be raring to go once again once spring comes.
The Moffat County High School rodeo team retains high rankings going into the winter break of Colorado State High School Rodeo Association, completing the first half of the year with happenings Sept. 30 and Oct. 1 at Elbert’s Latigo Trails Equestrian Center.
Craig siblings Kasen and Kinlie Brennise stand at the top of the rankings in tie down roping and breakaway roping, respectively.
Kinlie won the breakaway in the latter half of the Latigo competition, while Kasen placed second in the tie down to maintain his standings, though teammate Jace Logan, of Yampa, earned first in the event’s first day.
With a second-place day at Elbert, the siblings have also scrapped their way to fifth in the season rankings in team roping, which has been a little more challenging this year, said mother and coach Sheila Brennise.
“They’re hanging in there,” she said, noting that a change in horses has affected Kinlie in particular. “It’s been a little bumpy.”
Logan’s best results this fall have come in the steer wrestling, currently ranked second in the state, the same placement for Hayden’s Keenan Hayes in both the bareback and saddle bronc events.
“Keenan has really been a contender for a freshman,” Sheila said. “Jace misses a lot sometimes because he’s also playing football, but he’s really doing well.”
Keenan is also sixth in bull riding, followed by Craig’s Dillon Burch in seventh and Ty Pinnt tied for 10th. Hayden’s Kaitlynn Hayes has her best outcome at 16th in goat tying, while Burns’ Miranda Hammer is tied for 12th in barrel racing.
Yampa’s Kody Logan stands at fifth in the reined cow horse event.
In all-around rankings Jace Logan is second, Keenan Hayes third and Kasen Brennise fifth for boys, while Kinlie Brennise is third among girls.
At the middle school level, Craig’s Pepper Rhyne is second in the boys breakaway
“Pepper’s come into middle school really well after winning that world title in Little Britches,” Sheila said.
Not to be outdone, Craig’s John Harding is third in both chute dogging and the saddle bronc steer event for junior high.
Also concluding its fall was Colorado Northwestern Community College, which saw its last competition of the early season at the beginning of October in Spanish Fork, Utah, hosted by Utah Valley University.
The Spartan women rank third as a group in total points and the men eighth in the Rocky Mountain Region, though both had a strong final fall performance.
Ivy Sandford earned a win in the breakaway roping’s first go, and Wyatt Hallam made it to the championship round of tie down. Brandon Olson hit a season high in the bull riding with 81 points, though he finished second in the finals.
“Our Spartans struggled somewhat this weekend compared to our first four weeks of competition, but there were some definite highlights,” said CNCC coach Jed Moore.
Olson is tied at second in bulls, while Ashley Farrington is third in breakaway, Makenah Faircloth fifth in barrel racing. Faircloth is also currently second in the women’s all-around.
Both teams are slated to return to action in the spring.
For Moffat County teams, the latter part of the season will include a home event at a crucial time as the Colorado state finals return to Craig for Memorial Day weekend.
Moffat County Fairgrounds will host the event for spring 2018 and 2019, the finals last in Craig in 2015.
“Diane Brannan and Melody Villard really led that effort to get that back here,” Sheila said. “We’re really looking forward to it and finish strong in the spring.”
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While the state of Colorado will receive much less in vaccines in the second major rollout than expected, Moffat County continues to roll along vaccinating community members with the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine.