Reigning the reins: Moffat County’s Garrett Uptain claims championship at Calgary Stampede
July 18, 2018
A Moffat County native was riding high way up north in the past week.
Moffat County High School graduate Garrett Uptain claimed the top honor in the novice division of saddle-bronc riding at Calgary Stampede from July 6 to 15 in Alberta, Canada.
Uptain finished with a 72.5-point run in the final go following scores of 75 and 71 in the opening rounds. A cash prize of about $2,400 and a trophy in the form of a cowboy atop a bucking bronco were nice to take home, though other elements were even more important to the young rider.
“It’s more about the experience, I think, so that people can start recognizing your name a little bit,” he said.
Uptain graduated from MCHS in 2016 amid multiple high school rodeo honors to compete in the sport at Wyoming’s Sheridan College, the men’s team of which finished the spring season as Central Rocky Mountain Region champions. Uptain’s teammate, Chance Ames, of Big Piney, Wyoming, was runner-up in the novice bareback at Calgary.
The big-time rodeo, billed as “The Greatest Outdoor Show on Earth,” was admittedly a little intimidating for Uptain, given a crowd of 30,000.
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“I was pretty nervous, it’s a lot to take it in. I’ve never been to a rodeo that big before,” he said.
Uptain recently completed his time at Sheridan and plans to matriculate this fall at Chadron State College in Nebraska with a goal of teaching high school agriculture as a career.
As far as rodeo, he plans to attend Cheyenne Frontier Days in Wyoming, as well as some smaller events this summer before competing in Mountain States Circuit finals in the fall.
“I’m just beyond thankful and feeling so blessed to have had the opportunities that I’ve had and to do what I do,” he said. “It’s really special to me that I can live the life that I do.”