Local teens fare well at rodeo

Students just miss chance to make it to nationals

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— Steamboat Springs cowgirl Genny McGeary headed into last week's Colorado State High School Rodeo Championships with a relatively new horse and some pretty high hopes.

"I was definitely happy," McGeary said of her finishes at the state-level event. "I just got my horse three months ago and we just started clicking before this rodeo."

McGeary, who will be a senior next year, rode that horse, Rickey, to fifth-place finishes in the first two go arounds and the duo placed fourth in the average.

She just missed qualifying for the short go by eight points in that event which was won by Abi Rice of Durango.

McGeary also placed third in the first go-round of the cutting, and she finished sixth overall in that event.

"This is the first time I qualified to go to Silver State and that is a pretty big deal," McGeary said.

"Everybody starts with the same points there, so I'm really looking forward to it."

The Silver State Championships will take place in Fallon, Nev., in two weeks.

While McGeary made her run in the barrels and cutting events, Hayden cowboy Jake Booco took part in the bull riding, saddle bronc and team roping events. Both athletes were riding for the Routt County/Soroco Rodeo Team.

Booco and team roping partner Luke Gray made it to the short go in team roping; however, Gray missed his catch in the event and the pair fell to seventh in the overall standings.

"I had the opportunity to perform well," said Booco, who will be a senior at Hayden this fall. "I just did not perform."

Booco had hoped to place in team roping and bull and bareback bronc riding.

Booco was bucked off in the bull riding event and rallied late to take a ninth-place result in the bareback event. But even after failing to make the short go in those two competitions, Booco still had a shot at the nationals in team roping.

"We went into the short round sitting in fifth place, which is one hole out of a national berth," Booco said. "We felt good about our chances."

Booco and Gray's national aspirations were foiled, however, when Gray's rope missed the calf.

"We were somewhat disappointed, but it happens," Booco said of the miss. "Luke was more disappointed with himself than I was."

Garrett Tonozzi of Fruita and Wade Heide of Pueblo won the team roping event by slipping past Leadville cowboy Derrick Borrego and Eagle's Jesse Echtler in the final points.

The Routt County/Soroco team did have one member qualify to compete at the National High School Rodeo, which will be held in Springfield, Ill., July 23-29.

However, cowgirl Sedar Thurston is not from Routt County. She lives in Tabernash and just rides with the local rodeo team.

Thurston placed third in the cutting, which was won by Stephanie Vogel of Dolores.

"We did a good job of getting our athletes to the short go," coach Alicia Samuelson said. "Overall, it was a pretty good weekend for us."

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