by Walter & Becky Bird
How many true Buckaroos or Broncos do you know? I guess that depends upon what qualifies a person as a true Buckaroo or Bronco, but arguably, six Monticello High School students and one San Juan High School student easily make the cut, as they compete in the Utah High School Rodeo Association rodeo circuit under the name Blue Mountain High School Rodeo Club.
The Blue Mountain High School Rodeo Club was created by Jana Lee Grover to assist youth throughout San Juan County to improve their rodeo and horse handling skills. Kim Young took over the team after Jana Lee’s daughter, Krista, graduated in 2016.
Members of the club from Monticello include Shelly Lewis, Kiley Tracy, Davi Bowring, Shaelyn Hart, Rance Hart, and Race Young. The lone San Juan Bronco is Kiara Noyes. These members compete in team roping, tie down, cutting, barrel racing, pole bending, break away, and goat tying.
This season, Blue Mountain dedicated their season to Krista Grover’s memory. Krista was a member of the club until she graduated.
Team members have a logo on their competition shirts that read “Ride for Krista” honoring the memories they have of the beloved team member.
The Utah High School Rodeo Association season kicked off in August in South Summit and concluded with the State Finals Rodeo this month. In between, there were 26 rodeos the teams could compete in anywhere from Tremonton to St. George to Vernal to Delta to Nephi to Price.
Needless to say, high school rodeo participants and their families burn a lot of gas and put on the miles as they sacrifice for their sport. Utah is the number one state for high school rodeo participation with over one hundred entries at each event.
This year, four members of Blue Mountain qualified and competed at the Utah State Finals Rodeo in Heber City June 7-9, 2018.
Monticello High senior Shaelyn Hart competed in Barrels and Breakaway Roping.
According to the National High School Rodeo Association (NHSRA), in Barrels, a contestant is allowed running start. Time begins as soon as the horse’s nose reaches the starting line and is stopped when the horse’s nose crosses the finish line.
Contestants must run barrels in a cloverleaf pattern, starting at either side. A five-second penalty for each barrel knocked down will be assessed. No two girls may ride the same horse.
Shaelyn did well, running a first go time of 18.199 – good enough for 42nd place. Shaelyn improved her time to 17.698 on her second go for 38th place. Overall, she finished 45th with a season total of one event point.
In Breakaway Roping, according to the NHSRA, two loops will be allowed if two ropes are carried. Each rope is tied to the saddle horn with string.
The rider, starting when the barrier drops, rides after the calf, throwing a loop over its head. As the rider pulls up her horse, the running calf breaks the string, and the rope falls free from the saddle horn.
A white flag must be attached to the rope at the saddle horn so judges can tell when the rope breaks free. Time is called when the judge drops his flag.
Ropes must be released from the contestant’s hand to be a legal catch. The horse must clear the box before the loop is thrown. A ten-second fine for a broken barrier will be assessed.
Shaelyn registered No Time on her first go around and finished 51st overall by earning six points on the season.
Monticello High School junior Shelly Lewis also competed in Breakaway Roping but a No Time in her first go ended her event for the season. This ending in no way diminished the great accomplishment of qualifying for the state rodeo.
Monticello High School junior Davi Bowring also qualified for the state finals rodeo, but a torn ACL prevented her from competing.
Monticello High School junior Race Young competed at the finals rodeo in Cutting and Team Roping.
The NHSRA website states that in Cutting, no choke ropes, tiedowns, or wire around the horse’s neck will be permitted. The horse must be ridden with a bridle (with bits in mouth and no noseband or bosal), or hackamore. Quirt or bat must not be carried.
Time allotted each horse to work is 2 1/2 minutes. A judge marks from 60 to 80 points. Any rider who allows his horse to quit working or leaves the area before his allotted time is up will be disqualified for that go-round with no score.
A horse will be given credit for his ability to enter a herd of cattle and bring one out with very little disturbance to the herd or the one brought out. The horse should never get ahead of the animal and duck it back toward the herd to get more play, but should let the turnback man turn it back to him.
A horse will be penalized for the following: using the back fence for turn-back purposes; each time he is reined or visibly cued in any manner; if an animal that he is working gets back into the herd; if additional cattle are picked up from the herd; if a horse quits a cow or must be restarted by his rider; and if a horse clears the herd with two or more cattle and fails to separate a single animal before quitting.
If a horse turns the wrong way with tail toward the animal being worked, he will be disqualified for that go-round with no score.
Race performed well in the Cutting event placing tenth with 140 points in the first go, sixth in the second go with 143.5 points, and sixth in the Short Go scoring 141 points. This was good enough for eighth overall which is a great finish after a long season.
According to the NHSRA, in Team Roping, a team may be composed of two boys, two girls, or a boy and girl.
In dally team roping, ropes are loose from the saddle horns, and after making the catch, the ropers must take a wrap around the horn. Time is taken when both ropes are tight and both horses are facing the steer.
There are strict rules defining a fair head catch. The rope must be around both horns, the neck, or half a head. There is a five second penalty for catching only one hind foot. There is a ten-second penalty for breaking the barrier.
In Team Roping, Race, who was teamed up with Dax Hall from Emery, placed 21st in the first go and 52nd in the second go after a No Time. With this finish, Race finished 122nd overall for the season after earning five season points.
The team gets a two-month rest before they start all over again. Congratulations to all who competed this year in Utah high school rodeo this season. With no seniors on the team, we look forward to seeing what these Buckaroos and Broncos can do next season.