By Dan Rankin
In Rock Springs, Wyoming from July 12-18 this year, the 2015 National High School Finals Rodeo – put on by the National High School Rodeo Association (NHSRA) – attracted over 1,600 contestants from across Canada, Australia and the United States. The young rodeo contestants competed in 12 different events including pole bending, calf roping, and bareback riding.
Taking part in the barrel racing and goat tying competitions were 18-year-old DCVI student Brooke McIntosh. She was one of seven members of the Ontario team to make the trip to Wyoming.
“They had campgrounds on the site there, and every province and state were grouped together,” she said. “There were kids everywhere all the time and everyone was really friendly. It was a great atmosphere down there.”
Others members of the Ontario team attend high school in Mitchell and Stratford.
“It’s great for kids who want to get started in rodeo,” she said. “It’s less expensive, and it’s all younger kids who are all learning too. Everyone’s really helping when you’re at the events. It’s a great association.”
At some national competitions, contestants also have an opportunity to receive college scholarships, totalling over $200,000 each year.
McIntosh is already getting ready for the beginning of a new rodeo season, which kicks off tonight at the Western Fair in London. She’ll be competing in the two events she took part in back in Wyoming, as well as breakaway roping and pole bending. The next competition after that is Oct. 10 in Hillsburgh.
Anyone interested in taking part are able to come and try their first rodeo for free.
More information about the events and how to register can be found at OHSRA.ca.