ND high school athletes dominate Boot Barn’s Future Stars of Rodeo contest
for Tri-State Livestock News
The High School National Finals just wrapped up in Rock Springs, Wyoming, but five members of the North Dakota team that traveled and competed there were still awaiting results of a different kind.
The Boot Barn Future Stars of Rodeo is a contest eligible to high school rodeo athletes who have qualified for the year’s national finals. With an application, each student must submit a photo of themselves competing, along with an essay about why they should be chosen. Ten finalists were selected by a panel, then online voting decided two athletes who were awarded a trip to the National Finals Rodeo in December.
Five of the ten finalists for the nation-wide competition were North Dakota students. These included Caydon Roshau of Bismarck who qualified for cutting, Rebekah Nottestad of Mandan in breakaway, Kylie Hildre of Velva in team roping and cutting, Cashae McGee of Rhame in goat tying, and Carson Houser of McClusky in bull riding. While attending the finals in Rock Springs, they were able to see the photos of themselves competing as billboards, received a free shirt and entire outfit from the Boot Barn store, and participated in a photoshoot, video shoot and interview.
Soon-to-be high school senior Caydon Roshau said photographer Craig Maley encouraged him to apply for the contest. “He’s wanted me to since my freshman year. I thought it was questionable, I was a little scared about it, but this year I finally decided to pull the trigger and do it. I went online and found a great photo in the event I qualified in (cutting). I answered a few questions about myself and wrote an essay, then I found out I was a finalist for the Future Stars of Rodeo. It was crazy.”
In addition to cutting, which Roshau qualified for nationals in, he also competes in steer wrestling, calf roping, and team roping.
“I really love to rodeo. Since I was a little kid my dad has brought me into rodeo. It teaches hard work ethic and just about everything else. In the eighth grade at the junior high national finals, I ended up winning the average in the chute dogging. I’m trying to lock up the national championship in the next couple of years and have fun as I’m doing it.” He won the all-around state championship this year, and he’s hoping next year he’ll qualify in all his events. “I’ll have multiple chances at a national title and the national all-around title,” Roshau said.
Both 2018 Future Stars of Rodeo winners, Abby Hepper and Nevada Berquist, are North Dakotans, and both hailing from McKenzie County. Although the winners of the 2019 contest weren’t from North Dakota, the five young athletes were still grateful to have the opportunity to be finalists in the contest and experience working with Boot Barn.
Rebekah Nottestad she was surprised to find out she was selected to be a finalist. “We waited for an email to find out if we were finalists. I was surprised. I felt like the essay I wrote was pretty good, but out of all the states and all the kids that did apply, it was really exciting.”
Nottestad qualified in the breakaway for this year’s nationals, but also competes in team roping, goat tying, barrel racing, and pole bending. She just graduated high school and has her eyes set on the Texas rodeo scene, where she’ll college rodeo for Ranger College. She got her pro card when she turned 18 and will continue to pro rodeo when she moves south.
Photographer Maley also encouraged Nottestad to apply for the Future Stars of Rodeo, saying she would be a great candidate. His support of these athletes hasn’t gone unnoticed- he was awarded the NHSRA Man of the Year in Rock Springs.
Another finalist was Cashae McGee, who said the entire week at nationals was a blast with Boot Barn. “When we got to Rock Springs, we went to the Boot Barn store and got the chance to meet the other contestants. Throughout the week, we got to do interviews and photoshoots with the official Boot Barn team. I had a lot of fun doing the photo shoot, they made it very fun for me! I had a lot of fun meeting everyone who was involved with the contest. It was an amazing experience, and I encourage everyone to enter this amazing contest,” McGee said. This isn’t the first opportunity she’s had with brand-name sponsors—she was recently selected to take part in the Priefert Junior Elite Team, as well.
The experience of qualifying and competing at the national level in rodeo is an opportunity for young athletes to have a taste of the professional circuit. The chance to also compete in a contest like the Boot Barn Future Stars of Rodeo gave these five students an even deeper look into what their life may be like in the near future.
Rebekah Nottestad sad the experience gave them a foot in the door. “They offered us a personal sponsorship with them for the first time. It’s an awesome opportunity. It just makes you feel like you’re one of the pros.”