Northwest Colorado rodeo rides high at nationals | CraigDailyPress.com

Northwest Colorado rodeo rides high at nationals

The rodeo circuit's summer months are among the busiest for the sport as the warm weather draws crowds to arenas around the country to celebrate the sport.

Northwest Colorado athletes have been in the spotlight recently for their performances at the national level.

The National High School Finals Rodeo takes place the week of July 16 in Gillette, Wyoming, though June was a hectic month for those at the middle school and college levels with the National Junior High Finals Rodeo wrapping up the week of events June 24 in Lebanon, Tennessee.

Among those with the best performance at the big time was Meeker's Lane Anderson, who paired with Mason Trollinger of Ten Sleep, Wyoming, to lasso their way to a second place nationwide finish in team roping, according to the results from National High School Rodeo Association.

In the boys goat tying, Anderson ranked 57th.

Hayden's Keenan Hayes took on the saddle bronc steer riding, ultimately placing eighth in the qualifying rounds, just short of moving on to the final go.

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Hayes also tied in 11th in the bull riding competition, while he and Craig's Donnie Quick were both in the large field of chute dogging entrants, Hayes peaking at 72 in the qualifier and Quick at 102.

Yampa's Kody Logan joined Fort Collins' Shea Grogan in the ribbon roping contest, 22nd in the opening rounds, with Logan taking 51st in boys breakaway roping.

Craig's Amber Salazar meanwhile was ranked 77th in her early round in pole bending.

Earlier in the month was the College National Finals Rodeo in Casper, Wyoming, which saw several competitors with roots in the area place highly.

Moffat County High School graduate Garrett Uptain tied for 24th in the saddle bronc riding on behalf of Sheridan College, while fellow MCHS alumni Denton and Dusty Taylor made it to the short round in team roping for University of Wyoming, the siblings ultimately placing 12th among nearly 50 teams of headers and heelers.

Competing on behalf of Colorado Northwestern Community College was Johnny Pavkov, finishing 42nd in the steer wrestling.

CNCC teammate Teague Crane fared better, advancing to the short round after three solid rounds and taking fourth place in the nation.

Crane said the "mental game" was the toughest part of her stint in Casper, to not put too much pressure on herself and just do her best possible.

"I went in there not expecting much, so to place fourth was a big deal," she said. "I was just telling myself, 'just go rope your calf.'"

Additionally, Crane found herself briefly ranked as the top roper in the country.

"After I roped my third calf, I was leading it for about a day-and-a-half," she said.

Originally from Wheatland, Wyoming, Crane said her experience with CNCC rodeo is only the midpoint of a lifetime in rodeo — riding horses before she could walk and roping since age 8 — though being at nationals remains a highlight of her time at the college.

"CNCC is a very good school to go your first two years, because at first I didn't even want to go to college, but it's small and prepares you for maybe going to a bigger school," she said.

Crane graduated this spring after two years competing for the Spartan rodeo program, also earning the Rocky Mountain Region championship in breakaway, the result of constant work on her technique.

"I practiced every day on my roping, riding my horses, and to make it to the finals is a big deal, but if you want to place you have to practice," she said. "You have to put yourself into that position."

2017 rodeo summer results

National Junior High Finals Rodeo
Boys Breakaway Roping
• Kody Logan — 51
Boys Goat Tying
• Lane Anderson — 57, 98
Bull Riding
• Keenan Hayes — 11
Chute Dogging
• Keenan Hayes — 72, 83
• Donnie Quick — 105, 102
Pole Bending
• Amber Salazar — 77
Saddle Bronc Steer Riding
• Keenan Hayes — 8
Ribbon Roping
• Kody Logan — 22
Team Roping
• Lane Anderson — 2
College National Finals Rodeo
Breakaway Roping
• Teague Crane — 4
Saddle Bronc Riding
• Garrett Uptain — 24
Steer Wrestling
• Johnny Pavkov — 42
Team Roping
• Denton Taylor, Dusty Taylor — 12