TOP OF HER CLASS: Nebraska high school rodeo athlete wins Gates Scholarship |

TOP OF HER CLASS: Nebraska high school rodeo athlete wins Gates Scholarship

Niobrara, Neb. (April 29, 2019) –A Nebraska High School Rodeo athlete has been awarded the Gates Scholarship.

Abbi Holz, Niobrara, Neb., has received the scholarship, which covers the full cost of attendance not already covered by other scholarships, to a public or private college.

Holz, whose ACT score was 33, is on track to be the salutatorian of the class of 2019 at Niobrara High School.

In school, she was on the drama crew for three years and this year served as the assistant director for the play. She was on the speech team for two years, and has been on the A-Plus Superior honor roll since seventh grade.

She has competed in high school rodeo for three years in the barrel racing and pole bending. Holz also competes in local jackpots and loves the friends she’s made through rodeo. “The people you meet and get to know become your second family and that’s what I really enjoy about it,” she said. “Sometimes I feel closer to the people I rodeo with than the people at school.”

Holz will attend Kansas State University this fall, majoring in animal science with a pre-veterinary emphasis and hopes to attend K-State’s veterinary program. She loves animals, and gives credit to the local veterinarian for her interest in veterinary science. “I can probably blame my interest in animal science on him, for making me help castrate a horse when I was ten. I’ve always been the one ready to jump in.”

In her spare time, Holz likes to read and do leatherwork. In the eighth grade, she taught herself to tool leather, making belts, headstalls and breast collars.

She has trained the horse she currently rides, a six-year-old stallion named Feather. Her younger brother Clay, a high school sophomore, also rides him, and when Cooper, the youngest of the Holz siblings, wants to ride, he chooses Feather.

The Gates Scholarship, funded by Bill and Melinda Gates, is awarded to 300 students annually and is given to students who have an outstanding high school academic record, have demonstrated leadership ability, and have exceptional personal success skills.

She is the daughter of Orvil and Kelli Holz.

The Nebraska High School Finals Rodeo will be held in Hastings at the Adams Co. Fairgrounds June 13-15. The rodeo is held at 10 am and 6 pm on Thurs., June 13 and Fri., June 14, with the finals at 1 pm on June 15. Tickets are $7 for everyone ages five and up and are available through the office and at the gate. For more information, visit or, or call 402.462.3247.

– Adams County Ag Society