The Wheatland Cowboys and Cowgirls Rodeo Association (WCCRA) hosted finals on March 18 at the Lausen indoor arena, with $10,000 in prizes and cash handed out.
Throughout the past five months, 56 young cowboys and cowgirls between the ages of two and 18 have been competing in a combined 12 events, split between three age groups.
Events include barrel racing, thread the needle, goat tying and untying, pole bending, steer daubing, live and dummy breakaway, dummy and live roping, dummy and live team roping.
“The (kids) get a bond with their horse younger,” said Brandy Schiffner, treasurer of the WCCRA. “Horses are large animals so working with them gives them a lot of confidence which then carries through to other aspects in their lives.”
According to the WCCRA, spending time with the association provides youth the opportunity to learn compassion, responsibility, confidence and sportsmanship. The kids learn to look after and listen to their horses, and to communicate in their own way with their horses to be able to compete in the rodeo events.
The young rodeo stars have been meeting every second Sunday since October to compete and to practice rodeo events. Each youth rodeo is treated like a regular rodeo where the kids with the best scores for each event win cash.
Throughout the year, the kids have been accumulating points and times from each event. The overall winners from each event were recognized at a banquet on March 19 where they won buckles, horse blankets and halters.
Winners from each event and age group include:
Barrel racing: 8 and under A - Rhys Brosz; 8 and under B - Taylor Hall; 9-12 A - Lexi Kathol; 9-12 B - Taya Sharpley; 13 and over A - Paige Sibbet; 13 and over B - Jaelyn Bec.
Pole Bending: 8 and under A - Maysa Schiffner; 8 and under B - Taylor Hall; 9-12 A - Alice Tanner; 9-12 B - Kazziah McFadden; 13 and over A - Jaymie Conrad; 13 and over B - Sadie Henn.
Thread the Needle: 8 and under A - Maysa Schiffner; 8 and under B - Taylor Hall.
Goat Untying: 8 and under A - Rhys Brosz; 8 and under B - Taylor Hall.
Goat Tying: 9-12 A - Lexi Kathol; 9-12 B - Taya Sharpley; 13 and over A - Riley Sibbet; 13 and over B - Orrin Henn.
Steer Daubing: 9-12 A - Avery Aleman; 9-12 B - Taya Sharpley; 13 and over A - Riley Sibbet; 13 and over B - Sadie Henn.
Breakaway roping (dummy): Taya Sharpley.
Breakaway roping (live): Orrin Henn.
Team Roping Header (dummy): Taya Sharpley.
Team Roping Header (live): Paige Sibbet.
Team Roping Heeler (live): Riley Sibbet.
High Point Winners: 8 and under A - Maysa Schiffner; 8 and under B - Taylor Hall; 9-12 A - Lexi Kathol; 9-12 B - Taya Sharpley; 13 and over A - Riley Sibbet; 13 and over B - Jaelyn Bec.
“The finals are what they work all year for,” said Tara Kathol, secretary of the WCCRA.
The youth rodeo goes in winter, giving the kids an outlet to ride while not competing with the main rodeo season in which many parents compete.
“This is such a fun club where you are allowed to learn and grow in the sport so that when you go to a competition, you have already learned the steps on how to get there,” said Schiffner.
“It preserves our heritage. We are teaching the kids something many of their parents are part of,” added Crystal Stevens, vice-president with the WCCRA. “I think it’s a great competitive sport for our youth, and is a good training ground and opportunity for them to get better at what they do.”