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Mission Valley area Rodeo Recap

July 24, 2014
Northwest Montana A Conference


Mission Valley area Rodeo Recap:

Local high school ropers & wranglers taste National stage limelight

while uncooperative stock take their toll

by John Heglie


A quintet of Mission Valley area ranch wranglers got an opportunity to showcase some of their rodeo skills on the national stage at the National High School Finals Rodeo held in Rock Springs, Wyoming this past week.  While they were able to excel in segments of their specialties, uncooperative stock took their toll on maximizing many of their chances of vaulting their performances into the medium of the most memorable.  Those who were invited to wrap up an exceptional regular season on the national stage included Wyatt Lytton in team roping, Nicole Lake in breakaway roping, Trevar McAllister in bareback riding, Will Powell in steer wrestling and Abby Knight in pole bending. 

Two participants who would have liked their critters to be a little more accommodating to their athletic accolade aspirations were ropers Wyatt Lytton and Nicole Lake.   Neither were successful in placing in either of their two national performances on account of elusive critters giving their ropes the slip, in some cases by the width of just a few strands, but just enough all the same to ensure that no time could be posted on the scoreboard.  In team roping, Lytton and his partner Carson King of Dillon had posted times under 15 seconds in the Montana state rodeo that would have placed them well in contention among national times, finishing in a three way tie for first place in the Montana year end standings.  Lake had turned in a pair of below 3 second times at the Montana state rodeo, finishing in first place in the  breakaway roping event for the State rodeo itself and finished 2nd among the year end standings in that event.   But these elusive sides of beef Lytton and Lake had to contend with in Wyoming not only did not seem to be impressed by any upper eschalon prowess they might have attained at a state level, but the critters themselves almost seemed to have conspired among themselves about how they might raise the bar of the level of difficulty against these Montana cowpokes as if they had been avid readers of Stephen King horror-like short stories where all matter of things tend to deviate from out of the ordinary norms in malevolent manners.   Due to the competitive nature of such timed events, another aspect to be taken into consideration is the feast or famine gambling-like risks a rodeo wrangler has to take.  If a rider times their throw correctly, the gamble can pay off handsomely with a lower time.  But if the roping technique of a rider is just a hair off or the critter executes an exceptional cut at a strategic juncture of the event, the participant is liable to come away empty-handed.

Trevar McAllister of Ronan had what is tantamount to a half-and-half experience competed in bareback riding.  The elusive critter he was riding in his first performance ensured that he would post no time by exorcizing its unwanted luggage before they could embark on any travels together.  But in his second performance he was able to place 5th.  Unfortunately, once the averages were combined it left McAllister just a few points shy of the cut off.  McAllister had placed 1st in his second go and tied for 3rd in his short go at the Montana state rodeo a few weeks prior, finishing 3rd in the year end standings.

Will Powell of St. Ignatius had a slightly better overall experience in steer wrestling.  He placed 11th in this first performance with a time of 11.89 and 2nd in his second performance with a time of 6.29.  Unfortunately, his overall average score placed him just a handful of points over the cutoff to make the short go and have a chance to showcase his stuff the final evening.  Powell took 1st place in his first go in steer wrestling at the Montana state rodeo, finishing 2nd in the overall year end standings.

Abby Knight of Charlo has competed in pole bending the past quartet of seasons, finishing 9th overall last season at nationals with aspirations of moving up the ladder this time around.  Things started out promising in her first performance where she tied for 2nd with a time of 20.729 seconds, situated among the teens and poised to move up the ranks after the first round results.    But her trusty steed Mabel’s Little Rocket aka Katie came up ailing prior to the commencement of their second performance.   Rather than risk her four legged co-athlete incurring further distress, Knight opted not to ride with her most experienced partner.   A fellow competitor whose ride was familiar with the event of pole bending kindly loaned Knight her ride, but expecting an unfamiliar doubles partner to perform at the same level as a veteran who together function much like an extension of one of one’s own appendages was more than could be asked.  Aside from optimum performance already being compromised by a lack of familiarity between horse and rider, three poles were clipped resulting in a trio of 5 second penalties being assessed to their score.    Knight’s time plummeted as a result along with any aspirations of improving upon the top ten performance of last season.  It turned out that the decision not to ride her own horse was a wise one, for Katie had been “tying up,” a plight that has been described by some as synonymous to cramping up not too dissimilar to Charlie Horse muscle seizures that many folk have experienced at some point or other in their lives.  Katie was treated for dehydration and was injected with IV fluids to replenish her vigor.  Not to worry.  Both horse and rider will continue on the road of future competitions at the collegiate level when Knight attends the University of Great Falls as part of their rodeo program.


NOTE TO READERS: A printed rendition of this article entitled “Five county kids ride in nationals” is featured with the 24th July 2014 issue of the Lake County LEADER B1, B3.

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