S.D. high school students demonstrate skill at Wrangler 20X rodeo during BHSS | TSLN.com

S.D. high school students demonstrate skill at Wrangler 20X rodeo during BHSS

Wrangler 20X High School Rodeo Showcase Winners   Bareback                                                          Score 1 Kashton Ford                          Sturgis              74 2 Devon Moore                         Clear Lake         69 3 Lucas Yellowhawk                  Blunt                57 4 Reece Reder                           Fruitdale           55   Breakaway Roping                                                        Time 1-2 Taylor Burgee                      Onida                              3.6 1-2 Josie Mousel                       Colman                           3.6 3 Breezy Amiotte                      Interior                          11.9 4 Jessica Caspers                       New Underwood            12.6   Tie Down Roping                                                           Time 1 Tegan Fite                              Hermosa                       10.5 2 Royce Bruns                           Plankinton                    18.4 3 Mathew Heathershaw            Quinn                           19.1 4 Dalton Porch                          Kadoka                         20.2   Goat Tying                                                                    Time 1 Michaela McCormick              Salem                           8.58 2 Brylee Grubb                          Spearfish                      8.69 3 Bailey Verhulst                       Reva                             11.36 4 Josie Menzel                          Quinn                           12.70   Saddle Bronc                                                                Score No Rides   Steer Wrestling                                                             Time 1 Taten Hill                               White River                  25.01   Barrel Race                                                                   Time 1 Landry Haugen                       Sturgis                          13.575 2 Gabi Irving                             Pierre                           13.731 3 Raylee Fagerhaug                   Wessington Springs       14.060 4 Megan Marone                      Pukwana                      14.097   Pole Bending                                                                Time 1 Kennedy Mclellan                   Dupree                         20.05 2 Sophia Meyer                         Rapid City                     20.79 3 Katie Sheridan                        Faith                             20.94 4 Kylie Wittnebel                      Castlewood                   21.12   Team Roping                                                                            Time 1 Jadon Jensen,Belle Fourche and Jet Jensen, Belle Fourche        8.49 2 Blair Blasius, Wall and Kale Crowser, New Underwood             13.18 3 Ryle Millar, Sturgis and Carson Sabers, Whitewood                  13.49 4 Kaden Tekrony, Clear Lake and Tigh Gaikowski,Wauby             14.47   Bull Riding 1 Jesse Kline                             Hartford                                   66 2 Tate Meyer                            Huron                                       63                                  

The twentieth annual Wrangler 20X High School Rodeo Showcase brought some of the best young South Dakota rodeo talent to the Black Hills Stock Show.

Taylor Burgee, Josie Mousel, Michaela McCormick and Jesse Kline all took home titles; Burgee and Mousel as co-champs in the breakaway roping, McCormick as goat tying champion and Kline in the bull riding. Brothers Jadon and Jet Jensen matched up for a win in the team roping.

Other winners from the 2023 Wrangler 20X High School Rodeo showcase include bareback rider Kashton Ford, Sturgis, S.D.; tie-down roper Tegan Fite, Hermosa; steer wrestler Taten Hill, White River; barrel racer Landry Haugen, Sturgis; and pole bender Kennedy McIlellan, Dupree.

Burgee, from Onida, S.D., made a 3.6 second run to win, alongside Mousel, the breakaway roping.

She had a plan as she backed into the box. “The box is kind of short,” she said, “so it was sketchy figuring out the score. My horse turned her head when I nodded, but she was able to get me up there, and I was able to stay aggressive and just rope my calf really good and strong.”

Her horsepower is an eleven-year-old bay mare named Bunny, purchased about a year ago.

Breakaway roping is the strong suit for the eighteen-year-old multi-event contestant. “It’s what I enjoy doing the most,” she said. “It takes you and your horse. It’s not just about who has the best horse.”

An online high school student, Burgee can work her school schedule around her practice times and jackpots. She likes setting her own schedule.

This fall, she will attend Black Hills State University in Spearfish, competing on the rodeo team and majoring in business marketing.

She is the daughter of Katie Thompson and Justin Burgee.

A track star tied for the number one spot in the breakaway with Burgee.

Josie Mousel, Colman, S.D., also had a time of 3.6 seconds to tie for the win.

The seventeen-year-old has used a knee injury to her advantage.

After tearing her ACL while playing high school basketball and having surgery in January of 2022, she was unable to tie goats during last spring’s season. Instead, she focused on breakaway, “and it paid off,” she said.

A three-time state high jump champ, she won high jump titles in seventh, eighth, and tenth grade (the pandemic caused the cancelation of the state track meet her ninth grade year, and her junior year, she was unable to compete due to the ACL surgery). Her sophomore year, she jumped 5’5”, higher than any other high school girl athlete at all high schools in South Dakota and North Dakota. That year, she was named the Field Event MVP for the state.

She’s not only an excellent high jumper but a relay racer as well; in her eighth grade and tenth grade years, she was on the teams that won the state championship: the 4x100m and 4x200m teams both years, and the medley team in 2021.

A senior at Colman-Egan High School, she participates in FFA, FCA, is a member of the National Honor Society, and on her school’s honor roll.

This fall, she will attend the University of Wyoming and compete in college rodeo.

She is the daughter of John and Jessie Mousel.

The goat tying championship went to Salem’s Michaela McCormick.

The seventeen-year-old cowgirl tied her goat in a time of 8.5 seconds.

“It was a good run to get back into it,” she said. “I tried to go out and make a smooth run.”

A senior at McCook Central High School, McCormick plays volleyball, basketball, is class vice-president, is a member of the National Honor Society, and is involved in FFA and FCA.

Her mount for goat tying at the Wrangler 20X Showcase was a ten-year-old sorrel gelding named Sonic who was ranch raised. He is also her breakaway and team roping horse.

McCormick has finished as the state high school reserve champion goat tyer twice and in fourth place once, qualifying her for the National High School Finals all three years. Nationals hasn’t gone according to plan. “I’ve drawn a few tough goats, but I’d say it’s more a mental game,” she said.

The South Dakota high school rodeo kids don’t have a fall season, so the Showcase gives them their first taste of high school competition since the spring of last year. That’s a welcome thing, McCormick said. “It’s great to get back into it.”

This fall, McCormick will attend Montana State University and compete collegiately while majoring in business.

She is the daughter of Matt and Lori McCormick.

The bull riding champion could be a South Dakota tourist ambassador.

Jesse Kline, Hartford, was born in Louisiana and moved to the state five years ago, with his mom and stepdad. He loves his adopted state.

“I love South Dakota, compared to Louisiana,” he said. “It’s always hot and humid there, with a lot more people. Here, I can get out of school and go pheasant hunting and that’s a blessing to me. I am going to live here the rest of my life.”

He scored 66 points to win the bull riding, aboard a bull owned by friend Mason Moody.

Kline competed in 4-H and open rodeos, but struggled with the mental part of the sport. His mom, a body-building competitor, has helped him, but bull riding clinics have helped, too. He’s attended several different schools hosted by Gary Leffew and Cody Custer. Both world champions, they teach the mental part of bull riding.

“They talk about your self-image, and give you a lot of breathing techniques to help you,” Kline said. “I wanted it so bad, I put it into practice, and I’ve learned how to think positive.”

He’s also faithfully practiced the exercise drills from Custer’s clinic, which include drills on a stationary barrel (simulating a bull), practicing form.

“The idea behind it is you know in your head you’ve done enough preparation during the week, so when you get to the rodeo, you don’t have to think about anything. You can have fun and ride, because your body knows how to do it, and you trust your body.”

Kline broke his collarbone in July when a bull stepped on him. Doctors didn’t require him to wear a sling; a few weeks later, while doing the butterfly rope trick, a hairline fracture that doctors hadn’t noticed split open wider. Then the doctor put him in a sling.

The bone breaks caused him to miss state 4-H finals in August, and the Northern Bull Riding Tour finals, where he was in first place. He ended up reserve champ of the NBRT.

Kline was back to competition at open rodeos by late August.

A senior at West Central High School in Hartford, he is a member of his school’s FFA chapter and on the A-B honor roll.

He plans to attend Mitchell (S.D.) Technical College and rodeo for them. In his first year of studies, he wants to attain a geospatial technology degree, and in the second year, get a lineman’s degree. With those careers, he hopes to have time to continue to ride bulls.

Kline is the son of Sally Rothwell and Trepp Nagel.

Brothers and team roping partners Jadon and Jet Jensen paired up for the win in their event at the Showcase.

The Belle Fourche cowboys had a time of 8.49 seconds to take the win.

It was a good run, said Jet, heeler and the younger of the pair. “I expected Jadon to do his thing. I knew I had to do my part, and it worked.”

The two rope well together. “We get along pretty good when it comes to roping,” Jadon said. “We both know what we have to do, and we do it.” Being brothers, it works well when it’s practice time. “It’s nice to be able to practice with your brother, because it’s super convenient.”

Jadon is a senior at Belle Fourche High School; Jet is a sophomore. Jet is a starter as a point guard on the basketball team.

Jadon spends about twenty hours a week working at the family business, Butte County Equipment. He’s there every night after school, all day on Fridays (there is no school in Belle Fourche on Fridays), and Saturday till noon. He likes the business, plus the pay is a good incentive. “Money is good,” he said. “I don’t mind (working) at all. It beats sitting at home.”

Jadon’s head horse is a twenty-year-old palomino that used to be his uncle Aaron Lindskov’s rope horse. Aaron gave the horse to Jadon when he started junior high rodeo. Jet’s heel horse has High Brow Cat and Smart Little Lena in its pedigree. Jet also competes in the tie-down roping, but team roping is his strong suit.

This fall, Jadon will attend Black Hills State University, compete collegiately, and work towards a business associates degree.

The brothers qualified for the state high school finals in 2022 and placed third in the second round. In the short round, they missed their steer.

They are the sons of Keith and Kenita Jensen.

Competing at the new arena in The Monument is special for the kids. Burgee loved it. “It’s an opportunity to be on the big screen in front of a lot of people,” she said. “It’s during their stock show, so all sorts of people are there.”

The Wrangler 20X is like a pro rodeo for the kids.

“They definitely do a good job of making it feel like you’re at a pro rodeo,” Burgee said. The Rodeo Rapid City personnel, including announcer Will Rasmussen and rodeo clown Justin Rumford worked the event.

For Jadon Jensen, it “was a pretty cool deal to rope in that big new building, with the great atmosphere.”

Mousel loved the “extras” that come with competing where the pros compete.

“The jumbotron, the good music, a good announcer, it was pretty special, really.”

The top three contestants in each event after the 2021-2022 S.D. High School Rodeo season qualified for the Wrangler 20X High School Rodeo at the Black Hills Stock Show. Contestants are entered in the event they have the most points in. Contestants qualify in one event only.

Jet (on the left) and Jadon Jensen with the buckles and jackets they won at the Wrangler 20X High School Rodeo Showcase on Jan. 29 at the BHSS. Photo by Kenita Jensen.
Rodeo Ready | Courtesy photo
Rodeo Ready | Courtesy photo
Michaela McCormick at the Wrangler 20x Rodeo in Rapid City. Joel Bergeson | Courtesy photo

Josie Mousel. Peggy Gander | Courtesy photo
Josie Mousel. Peggy Gander | Courtesy photo