No lag in the flags: Pepper Rhyne’s Little Britches championship among Craig rodeo honors
July 30, 2017
Craig's Pepper Rhyne could spend a lot of time talking about his accomplishments to anyone asking about what he did this summer. But, a simpler tactic may be to just point to the gear he brought home with him that says it all in two words — "World Champion."
The normal heat of July was even hotter for the kids of Northwest Colorado who spend their time on the rodeo circuit, competing in some of the biggest national events they can in the past month.
For those at the high school level, it came down to the wire during the National High School Rodeo Association finals in Gillette, Wyoming as the top teens in the country hit the arena July 16 to 22.
Representing their corner of the state were Craig's Kinlie and Kasen Brennise and Yampa's Jace Logan.
Kinlie rode her way to 12th place in the nation in barrel racing, while brother Kasen took third in the opening round of tie-down roping and seventh in the first go only to be edged out of the later rounds in the event's average.
Logan finished in 12th in the average rankings of steer wrestling, as well as heading home as the winner of the High Stakes Jackpot for steers.
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The national finals followed the week right after the International Finals Youth Rodeo, in which the Brennises rode on behalf of Bloomer Trailers during the event in Shawnee, Oklahoma.
Also mingling with the Okies earlier in the month were Pepper and Jolene Rhyne, representing Craig at the finals for National Little Britches Rodeo Association July 4 to 9 in Guthrie, Oklahoma.
Pepper, 12, won the overall competition in boys junior flag racing with a speedy average of 21.092 seconds and 1023 points that gave him first place and a slew of honors, including a World Champion saddle.
Taking the saddle in particular was important to him considering whom he credits for his victory.
"It was my horse," he said. "Her name is Prissy."
He added that once the first of the two flags in a race is handled correctly, the rest is just a matter of quickness.
Pepper had a busy week in Guthrie, also competing in team roping — paired with a partner from South Dakota — goat tying and breakaway roping, the latter of which he said is his favorite.
"I just like to rope calves," he said.
Pepper and 10-year-old sister Jolene also teamed in ribbon roping, ranking 68th of 93 teams.
Jolene likewise stayed strong at the national rodeo in barrel racing, pole bending, goat tying and the trail course.
"You go over a bridge, back through two barrels, and then there's a mailbox and a gate," she said, describing the trail event, in which she placed at No. 80.
Jolene noted that she competes with two horses, Izzy and Diamond.
The siblings have earned a break, but for Pepper it will be brief, as he's decided to devote more time to rodeo in the fall as part of the local junior high level team, which means he won't be able to play football for Craig Middle School, where he'll be in eighth-grade.
"Just rodeo this fall," he said. "And, wrestling in the winter."