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National High School Finals Rodeo begins Friday in Oklahoma

National High School Finals Rodeo begins Friday in Oklahoma

2016 Wyoming High School Rodeo

Yancey Hays of Big Piney is launched into the air in the saddle bronc event during the 2016 Wyoming State High School Rodeo Finals at the Wyoming State Fair Park in Douglas.

Wyoming’s top high school rodeo competitors get one more chance to become champions beginning Friday when the National High School Finals Rodeo kicks off in Guthrie, Oklahoma. The season’s culminating event runs through July 23.

The Wyoming High School Rodeo Association 2019-20 season began last fall and held four rodeos — Douglas, Jackson, Lander and Wheatland — before expecting to resume in the spring. Unfortunately, due to the coronavirus pandemic all eight spring rodeos were canceled.

The ongoing pandemic left the NHSFR, which was originally scheduled for July 19-26 in Lincoln, Nebraska, in doubt as officials searched for a new venue. Both Gillette and Rock Springs were considered before the rodeo landed in Oklahoma.

And with no spring rodeos, this year’s NHSFR representatives from Wyoming were based on the fall standings.

There are some familiar names returning to the national stage from the Cowboy State. Yoder’s Haiden Thompson, who was the top rookie cowgirl at last year’s NHSFR, will compete in goat tying and breakaway roping. And the Big Piney team roping duo of Arye Espenscheid and Kolby Bradley are back after finishing as the reserve champions last year.

The rodeo’s first go-round runs through Monday morning with the second go finishing the morning of July 23. The short go is scheduled for the night of July 23.


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Sports Editor

Jack Nowlin returned to the Star-Tribune in 2007 after eight years covering Michigan State University athletics. A Wyoming native, and a graduate of Jeffrey City High School and the University of Wyoming, Jack serves as the Star-Tribune’s sports editor.

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