Area rodeo champs saddle up for State Finals in Huron

Young cowboys and cowgirls from around the state will gather in Huron for four days, from June 23rd to the 26th, of fierce competition in the South Dakota High School Rodeo Association's 56th Annual State Rodeo Finals. And on July 6 at 8 p.m. CT/ 7 MT, the rest of South Dakota can see the championship rounds on SDPB Television. The program will also include interviews with the winners, as well as the Rookie Cowboy, Rookie Cowgirl, All-Around Cowboy, All-Around Cowgirl and Rodeo Queen.

Hundreds of athletes will compete for a chance to move on to the National High School Finals Rodeo in Gillette, Wyoming later in July. Around 50 competitors go on to Nationals and in the last five decades, South Dakota has produced more than 40 national champions.

Five area young men and women have qualified for going to the state competition. Kaylee Nelson, daughter of Tim and Denise Nelson, will be in breakaway roping, girls cutting, team roping, and barrel racing. Blayne Kennedy, daughter of Scott and Beth Kennedy, will be in breakaway roping and pole bending. Jesse Hapney, daughter of Randy and Debbie Hapney, has qualified for the goat tying, breakaway roping, and barrel racing events. Tiekola Fortune, daughter of Casey and Theresa Fortune, will be in girl’s cutting and team roping. Bryer Jones, son of Barry and Kim Jones, will be in team roping (partnered with Chase Olney).

The event will be hosted by three-time Sports Broadcaster of the Year and nationally recognized rodeo announcer Jim Thompson, who has long been the announcer for SDPB High School Rodeo coverage. Jimmie Nicolaus, head rodeo coach at Mitchell Tech and Regional Facility Advisor for the National Intercollegiate Rodeo Association will serve as co-host.

An encore broadcast of the State Rodeo Finals will air July 10 at 1 p.m. CT/ noon MT. An archive of the program, additional video of the cutting competition and a link to final results can be found at SDPD.org

For information on this or other SDPB programs, call 1-800-456-0766 or go to SDPB.org.