Campbell County cowboys, cowgirls make a showing at NHSRF |

Campbell County cowboys, cowgirls make a showing at NHSRF

Nearly 1,500 young rodeo competitors from all across the US, Canada, and Mexico gathered in Gillette, Wyoming last week for the National High School Rodeo Finals held at Campbell County’s Cam-Plex Multi Event Center.

Rodeo athletes practice year-round to develop their talents and hone in their skills. Campbell County rodeo athletes knew the 2022 NHSRA Finals would be held locally and it must have been motivating!

Campbell County is no stranger to champions in the rodeo arena, and these days there seems to be emerging talents in many events throughout the rodeo. Not only are they rising to the top in many events, but they are helping each other get there.

Take barrel racers Ashlyn Goven and Sydney Oedekoven of Gillette for example. After Sydney’s barrel horse was injured, Ashlyn, lent Sydney one of her horses. Ashlyn has some extraordinary horses that helped not only her but Sydney qualify for NSHRA finals. So, at many of the Wyoming high school rodeos, Ashlyn was competing against her own horse and they were both working to gain points to qualify for nationals. Both girls did qualify and compete.

Sydney’s main mount was healed and she was able to go back to running him at nationals. They made some solid runs of 17.679 in the first go and 17.401 in the second round. Sydney ended up 21st in the nation in barrel racing… just one place from making the short go. Ashlyn had a 17.437 in the first go, 17.406 in second go, and 17.189 in the short go. She ended up placing 10th overall in the nation.

Sydney Oedekoven rounds a barrel at the NHSRF on her horse, Set your Cash A Flame or "Flame.“ The gelding broke his right front splint bone in Ft. Worth at the Jr. Patriot, had surgery and March and had recovered by state finals in June to help Sydney qualify for nationals in Gillette this month. Courtesy photo
Mattie Hepp-Krassin, Shay Hough, Ashlyn Goven with Tex. Courtesy photo

Ashlyn also qualified for NHSRA finals in the pole bending on an amazing horse named Tex. Tex has quite the story himself, being a reject pack horse, turned barrel and pole horse. Maddie Hepp of Gillette trained Tex and he helped her win many accolades. Next Tex went to Shay Hough of Gillette who he helped qualify for NHSRA finals in barrels and poles all four years of high school rodeo. The highlight being when Tex helped Shay win NHSRA 2017 National All Around Cowgirl! Now Ashlyn has Tex and he is still just as talented. The pair put down a 20.508 in the first round, 20.386 in the second round, and 20.016 in the short go, making them 10th over all in poles. Ashlyn ended the year as 4th overall All Around Cowgirl.

Ashlyn Goven ended the year in the top 10 in barrel racing at the NHSRF. Acentric Rodeo
Courtesy photo

In goat tying, RaeLee Caldwell of Gillette had a fantastic finals! She was an 8.61 in the first go, 7.54 in the second go, and 8.40 in the short go, making her the 4th overall goat tyer in the nation.

Freshman Kaeley Hutchison of Rozet made her debut in the breakaway at NHSRA finals. She was a 2.76 in the first round. She roped smart and made her catch at a time of 3.25 in the second go. Kaeley continued to rope smart and made sure she had a catch to be 4.04 in the short go, setting herself up to end up 5th in the nation as a freshman!

Kaeley Hutchison, RaeLee Caldwell, Ashlyn Govn, Kolten Miller are all smiles at the award ceremony. Courtesy photo

Campbell County cowboys made quite a splash, too.

Hayden Welsh of Gillette came to compete in the bull riding! He covered his bull in the first round for a score of 77 and wowed the crowd in the second round with a score 87.5. He had a rank one in the short go and didn’t get a score, but his two previous rides helped him finish up the year in second place in bull riding.

Kolton Miller of Gillette qualified in calf roping and trap shooting. He had two solid runs in the first two gos of calf roping with a 10.42 and then a 10.39. His calf in the short go got away for a NT, but he still ended up 14th overall in the calf roping. Kolten focused his sights in for the trap shooting and ended up 3rd overall in the nation!

The cutting pen saw plenty of action with Cody Boller of Gillette scoring a 141 in the first go, a 142 in the second go, and 138 in the short go, setting him to end up 16th in the nation in cutting.

There were several other Campbell County cowgirls and cowboys who gave it a good shot at finals but had some tough luck in one way or another. Many of them will have the chance to give it another go next year since the event will again be located in their backyard once again, in Gillette at the Cam-Plex Multi Event Center in 2023.

The Gillette Rodeo club including junior high and high school members. Courtesy photo

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