Newcomer Bradley secures All-Around Rookie Cowgirl title at National High School FinalsWritten by Madeline Robinson
Rock Springs – Big Piney high school freshman Karson Bradley proved she has a place in rodeo when she won the All-Around Rookie Cowgirl at the National High School Finals Rodeo (NHSFR) in Rock Springs at the Sweetwater Events Complex during July 13-19.
Bradley, the daughter of Mack and Tiffany Bradley, won the Rookie Cowgirl title with a total of 450 points.
The NHSFR rodeo had over 1,500 contestants attend, and they came from all over the U.S., Canada and Australia to compete for a national title.
“It meant a lot to me to win Rookie Cowgirl because this is my first year competing at the NHSFR. I’m only a freshman, and that’s a pretty big accomplishment for me,” comments Bradley.
She continues, “Competing in the NHSFR was a very cool experience. It was fun meeting new people from across America, Canada and Australia and learning from older and stronger contestants there, as well.”
To win the All-Around Rookie, a contestant must have points in two events, and Bradley was able to achieve high enough points in both barrel racing and pole bending to qualify for the All-Around.
Bradley is 14 years old and no stranger to national rodeo competitions. Three years ago, when she was in sixth grade, she was the champion in barrel racing at the National Junior High Finals Rodeo (NJHFR) in Gallup, N.M. with a time of 16.605 seconds.
In seventh grade, Bradley placed seventh overall in barrel racing out of a 153 contestants.
“I’ve been competing in rodeo since I was six years old,” states Bradley. “I have always ridden horses since I was little, and I started running barrels on my older horses.”
Her dad’s experience as a team roper led her to the rodeo arena. Bradley plans on competing in breakaway roping next year.
“It’s a very difficult decision to choose my favorite event between barrel racing and pole bending,” ponders Bradley. “Some days I lean more towards barrels because I have worked so hard my whole life doing barrels, but poles are really fun.”
She adds, “It just depends on the day as to which event is my favorite.”
When asked what she loves most about rodeo, she explains rodeo challenges a person to be at their best, and she gets to compete against some tough competition.
“When competing in rodeo, it is also a challenge to keep my horse running in top shape during every single rodeo. It can be tough at times,” she explains.
While Bradley is not certain which college she will attend in a few years, she is confident it will be a college where she can continue her rodeo career.
“A future plan of mine is to professionally rodeo and rodeo during college. I’ll always rodeo – that’s for sure,” claims Bradley. “I want to make it to the National Finals Rodeo (NFR) when I’m older.”
When asked what advice she would give to fellow rodeo contestants, she states, “Contestants should try their hardest and never give up. If they have a bad rodeo, they just need to go home and practice and prepare to come back stronger than they ever have.”
“If I don’t have a great run one time, I just go home and practice so that the next time I compete I’m able to have a good run,” she states. “If I struggle one time. I just work twice as hard, if not harder.”
NHSFR Wyoming contestants
Team Wyoming finished 10th out of the 40 teams in attendance at the National High School Finals Rodeo (NHSFR). Wyoming finished with a total of 3,950 points.
The Wyoming boys and girls team also each finished 10th, with the boys scoring 2,185 points and the girls scoring 1,765 points. A total of 38 teams were present for the boys and 35 teams for the girls.
Several Wyoming contestants competed in the Short Round of the NHSFR, and Sheridan’s Jeffery Zdziarski finished in fourth place overall in bareback riding with 208 points. In the Short Round, he placed third with a score of 72.
Hunter Carlson from Douglas finished in 15th overall with 138 points and Chance Ames from Big Piney placed 17th overall with 130 points in the bareback riding average.
For tie-down roping, Colton Kofoed from Bear River placed 19th in the overall event.
In barrel racing, Pinedale’s Cassidy Williams took the overall 11th spot for the event.
Buffalo’s Breanna Reimler gave it her all in pole bending and just missed the national title for the event by 0.031 seconds. Reimler placed sixth in the Short Round and second overall in the poles.
In saddle bronc, Daniel cowboy Tanner Butner secured first place in the short round with a score of 80 and finished fifth overall in the event. Hillside’s Brody Cress finished his season in 17th with an average score of 73.
Steer wrestler Teigen Finnerty finished in fifth place overall in the event and is from Wheatland. During the Short Round, he placed fourth with a time of 5.46 seconds. Jackson’s Levi Wilson placed 16th in bull riding.
The NHSFR will be in Rock Springs at the Sweetwater Events Complex for 2015. Next year will be the last year the NHSFR will be hosted there.