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Nine Wyoming competitors qualify for final round at National High School Finals Rodeo

Nine Wyoming competitors qualify for final round at National High School Finals Rodeo

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Yoder’s Haiden Thompson qualified for Thursday’s night’s finals in two events after the second go-round of the National High School Finals Rodeo was completed Thursday morning in Guthrie, Oklahoma.

Thompson, the NHSFR defending rookie all-around champ, was third in the average in goat tying with a two-run time of 15.11 seconds and was 12th in breakaway roping with a two-run time of 6.64 seconds. Thompson also is fourth in the all-around standings.

Joining Thompson in the championship go-round, which is comprised of the top 20 in the average standings in each event, were five Wyoming cowgirls and three Wyoming cowboys.

The boys finalists include Big Piney team ropers Kolby Bradley and Arye Espenschied, last year’s reserve champs. Bradley and Espenschied snuck into the finals at No. 19 with a time of 21.5 seconds on two runs. Gillette’s Parker Manor covered just one saddle bronc during the week, scoring 66.0 points, but that was enough to earn him the No. 20 spot.

On the girls side, Yoder’s Kadra Clark joins Thompson in the goat tying finals. Clark sits fifth with a time of 15.57 seconds. Kate Budge from Kelly is tied for seventh in cutting with 287 points.

Three Wyoming barrel racers earned the right to turn the cloverleaf in the finals. Worland’s Maddie Fantaskey leads the way as she is 15th with a two-run time of 31.724 seconds, followed by No. 18 Ashley Goven of Rozet with a 31.976 and No. 20 Rayne Grant of Wheatland with a 31.885.

Texas leads the overall team standings as well as both the boys and girls standings, with the Wyoming girls in sixth place and the boys in 23rd. Wyoming is 12th overall in the team standings.

The NHSFR was originally scheduled for July 19-26 in Lincoln, Nebraska, but was pushed back and the venue was changed due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. Both Gillette and Rock Springs were considered before the rodeo landed in Oklahoma.


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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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