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Memorial Day weekend found a group of Kittitas Valley junior high and high schoolers headed to Okanogan for the Washington State High School Finals Rodeo. A handful of them competed and a few of them came back with some hardware and notoriety.

Perhaps the most decorated athlete from the valley was eighth-grader Kassidy Bremner, who placed in the top four in four events on the year, including winning the state title in breakaway. Bremner swept through state, winning the first and second rounds on her way to the average and state title. She finished second in state in both barrel racing and goat tying, while placing fourth in pole bending. She ended the year third in the All-Around.

For the high schoolers, Tanner Truhlicka finished the year in sixth in the steer wrestling standings after a state weekend where he was fifth in the second round, fifth in the short round and third in the average. He also placed second in the first round of team roping with Brynn Morgan, finishing 15th overall on the year.

Here’s a quick list of a few of the county’s top state rankings on the year:

Junior High

Audrey Wolfenbarger: 11th in goat tying; 14th in breakaway

Kacee Schott: 16th in barrel racing

High School

Kyle Tutor: Ninth in team roping (with Payton Euper Segerman); 25th in calf roping (placed sixth in the second round and seventh overall in the state average)

Chloe Brown: 24th in barrel racing (placed fifth in the state average); 27th in pole bending

Chyanne Schott: 28th in breakaway (placed sixth in the state average)

Madeline Meyer: 24th in goat tying (10th in the second round of state)

Ava LaValley: 32nd in pole bending

Let’s switch to the professional circuit where I’m seeing many more stand-alone events. Well, let me re-phrase that: I’m seeing many more stand-alone events count toward the world standings. Case in point, the Riggin’ Rally in Darby, Montana. It’s yet another roughstock event that’s been there for a while, but up until a recent PRCA change, winnings there haven’t counted toward the world standings.

Why don’t you ask Kaycee Feild how he feels about the Riggin’ Rally? The five-time world champion won more than $11,100 last weekend in Darby. Winning 11-grand is always welcomed, but especially when it counts toward the PRCA’s world standings. Feild was sixth in the world standings with $34,000 in the bank last week. Now with Darby and some other paychecks, he’s much closer to $50,000 on the year. It doesn’t lock up the NFR, but it certainly helps a guy.

Here’s what he told the PRCA over the weekend: “My motivation last week when I was in the gym was this (Darby) could be a big one for me at a crucial time in the season. Reno starts in a couple of weeks, and I’m not really happy with where I’m at in the standings. I have a lot of work to do to catch the guys in front of me who are extremely good bareback riders. A lot has to go my way, and to pull this win off against everybody and to do it at this time of year gives me a lot of confidence.”

Not only does he have to gain ground on cowboys, but he needs to keep a cushion on other fellow bareback riders in the standings. One of those guys he’s trying to keep a lead on is Tanner Aus, who — you guessed it — won almost $3,800 on Summit Pro Rodeo’s Game Trail at the Daily Record Bares and Broncs last month.

I’m a rodeo fan. I’ve gotta have my roughstock with my timed events. I’ve gotta have my Xtreme Bulls as well as breakaway. I need to see Tyler Waguespack throw one in 3.4 seconds, just as much as I need to see Rusty Wright put a 90 on Spanish Nights in bronc riding. I need to see Jackie Hobbs Crawford tie one in 2.2 seconds.

Yet, it’s the stand-alone events that will keep the attention of the casual fan or create the interest in the new fan. It also provides a new payday to the cowboy or a new event to a venue. This is good across the board. I’d be interested to see if a match roping prototype graces the PRCA-sanctioned schedule in a year or two. I have no idea, but time will tell.

Jon Guddat covers rodeo — from the kids to the kids at heart — with a weekly rodeo column in the Daily Record. Contact Jon with story ideas at jonguddat@yahoo.com.

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