Today is Sunday, August 20, 2017

No losers at NJHRF

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Chris Villanueva-Team TX-Junior Bull Riding.
Cale Rushing-Team TN-Junior Bull Riding
Wyatt Duncan-Team WY-Chute Dogging
Kolt Dement-Team TX- bareback Steer Riding
Zane White-Team TN-Ribbon Roping
Morgan Schlosser-Team ND-Barrel Racing
Abby Stevens-Team Il-Goat Tying
Cooper Heimburg-Team AZ- Steer Saddle Bronc Riding
Jackson Green-Team GA-Chute Dogging
Tate Snyder-Team MO-Goat Tying
Lane Shemak-Team WI-Tie Down Calf Roping

The Roundup is over.

The first year of a two-year run for the National Junior High School Rodeo Finals (NJHRF) is over. The champions crowned, the queen selected and the awards all given out. They will be back next year.

"I can't say enough about the people of Lebanon and Wilson County," said Jim Higginbotham, director of the NJHSRF. "As for attendance and crowd, we are right in line with Des Moines last year. I'm looking forward to coming back next year."

For this past week, the fairgrounds was a bustling beehive of activity. Just doing some estimating, my guess is, there were 6-7,000 people in town from all over the U.S. Canada and even a few from Australia. I talked to a lot of them, and 99 percent were pleased with Lebanon.

About the only negative comment I heard was, "My God! Is it always this hot?" said the man from Innissfail, Alberta, Canada.

Almost all echoed the comment of the lady from Visalia, California. "The people here are so nice. Everyone we talked to has been so friendly, and the police officers have been so nice. One of them is cute, too." She asked not to be named.

I asked one of the parents about the storm. "The storm Thursday night caused minor damage to some of the awnings, and there was a little flooding in some of the stalls," he said. "But the major impact of three inches of rain was to the arenas. They were a muddy mess hindering performance. But that's rodeo. You take what you are given."

Other prominent comments, ones I heard regularly, complimented the food and service at Cracker Barrel and the Blue Moon Barbeque.

But the vendors all were in agreement on one thing. "The huge majority of people I have talked with here at the fairgrounds are the contestants and their families. I have seen very few folks who said they were from this area other than the folks involved with the rodeo. Most of the locals I talked with were in town," said Jennifer Folsom, one of the vendors.

I know a lot of money was spent. Cafes and restaurants did a booming business, as did Wal-Mart and, I suppose, others. I have no idea what the financial impact was on the Lebanon and Wilson County. Maybe, at some point, somebody will get that information out.

It will probably take a while to get all the figures sorted out as to who got what and why. No doubt, some sharp business owners made notes on things to do next year to attract business and make their cash registers ring.

But remember, this is not just about money and doing business. This is about the kids, winners and those who didn't win. Each contestant competed in their event(s) twice. At the end of the second round, the scores or times were totaled.

The top 20 in each event went on the championship round Saturday night. That time or score was then added and to the first two and the fastest times or highest scores were named champions.

But it's important to note there were no losers. Probably hundreds of thousands of dollars in trophies and other prizes were handed out.

Here is the wrap-up of the team and individual champions and some action pictures to peruse. To no one's surprise, Oklahoma and Texas battled it out for the team titles. If you didn't go this year, make plans for next year.

Final event results:


  1. OKLAHOMA, 7645;
    2. TEXAS, 5700;

1. OKLAHOMA, 5245;
2. TEXAS, 4120;

1. Cooper Cooke, Victor, Idaho, 1420
2. Cooper Duffin, Pocatello, Idaho, 1240

1. Paige Jones, Wayne, Okla., 1355
2. Jayci Byler, Bellville, Texas, 1060

Team Roping Average
1. Tanner Brown, Florence, Miss.; Matt Watt, Geiger, Ala., 26.55;
2. Rhett Murray, Belvue, Kan.; Jesse Boos, White Cloud, Kan., 29.92;

Junior Bull Riding Average
1. Chris Villanueva, Mesquite, Texas, 192;
2. Braidy Randolph, Lebanon, Pa., 186;

Pole Bending Average
1. Maci Jo Zimmerman, New Ross, Ind., 60.67;
2. Paige Jones, Wayne, Okla., 60.74;

Ribbon Roping Average
1. Zoie Bedke, Oakley, Idaho; Cooper Duffin, Pocatello, Idaho, 24.65;
2. Lane Shemak, Cobb, Wis.; Bridee Ann Burks, Lancaster, Wis., 29.42;

Boys Goat Tying Average
1. Briar Teague, Rattan, Okla., 29.55;
2. Cooper Duffin, Pocatello, Idaho, 30.57;

Chute Dogging Average
1. Colten Leech, Billings, Mo., 8.72;
2. Cord McDonald, Durant, Okla., 9.18;

Tie-Down Roping Average
1. Trevor Hale, Perryton, Texas, 35.6;
2. Cord McDonald, Durant, Okla., 43.06;

Saddle Bronc Steer Riding Average
1. Gus Gaillard, Morse, Texas, 196;
2. Cooper Cooke, Victor, Idaho, 190;

Barrel Racing Average
1. Jayci Byler, Bellville, Texas, 47.369;
2. Rio Flaharty, ElDorado, Kan., 47.449;

Girls Goat Tying Average
1. Wacey Day, Fleming, Colo., 23.39;
2. Kennedy Buckner, Redmond, Ore., 24.35;

Bareback Steer Riding Average
1. Keenan Hayes, Hayden, Colo., 202;
2. Cooper Cooke, Victor, Idaho, 194;

Boys Breakaway Average
1. Brandon Ben, Peridot, Ariz., 8.66;
2. Cade Bell, Paradise Valley, Nev., 8.92;

Girls Breakaway Average
1. Sawyer Gilbert, Buffalo, S.D., 10.09;
2. Paige Jones, Wayne, Okla., 10.62;

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