By Shelley Heath
Rodeo athletes competed at the South Dakota State High School Rodeo Finals on June 14-16 in Belle Fourche.
Tripp County High School Rodeo Team sent 7 of their 12 members to participate in the finals. All seven members made it back to the short go performance on Saturday, but two Colome High School students will get the chance to represent SD at the National Finals held in Rock Springs, Wyo, in July.
Rodeo athletes that placed 1-4 will go onto the finals. There were 215 contestants but several competed in multiple events. Aside from cutting and reined cow horse, all other events bring back the top 15 to the short go.
Riggin Shippy, a Colome High School incoming senior, won the state title in the bull riding competition. Shippy came into state finals sitting in good shape with points, but continued to excel at the state level. Shippy won the first performance, placed second in the second performance, and won the short go. Shippy was 2nd coming into state, and rode his way to the top. Shippy received a saddle and several buckles from his efforts. There were 12 bull riding contestants.
Linkyn Petersek, a Colome High School incoming sophomore, placed second in the tie down calf roping. Petersek brought in 25 points from regionals and continued to build points at state by placing fourth in the first performance, fourth in the second performance, and placing 8th in the short go. Building points in the average and roping strong in all go’s earned Petersek a second place title. There were 58 tiedown ropers.
Blasé Steffen, a Gregory High School graduate, placed second in the boys cutting. Steffen came into state with 29 points and picked up a second place in the first performance, fourth place in the second performance, and in the short go split third place with 3 other competitors. With Steffen’s strong performance, he earned the second place spot, just one point behind the first place finisher. There were 13 boys cutters representing the state. Steffen won the All-Around Saddle, he competed in boys cutting, reined cow horse, tiedown roping and team roping.
Brandon Volmer had a strong showing at the finals with a 5th place finish, in the boys cutting.
Kolton Salonen placed fourth in the second go and placed fifth in the short go, just missing the national team and placing 5th in the state. There were 16 saddle bronc riders.
In the girls cutting there were 22 competitors, Saydee Heath and Saige Schuyler picked up points in each performance but missed coming back in the short go. They placed 15th and 16th respectively.
There were 79 breakaway ropers, Heath placed fourth in the second performance and missed the short go by 1 point. Heath finished 16th in the state. Schuyler finished 30th.
There were 74 pole benders, Schuyler ran strong at the finals but didn’t pick up any points in the first and second performance but ran a pretty pattern in the short go with a second place finish. When all numbers are figured, she placed 10th in the state. Heath also participated in the poles, but did not put together a good run and finished 69th.
Steer wrestling brought 27 competitors, including Beau Dean of Platte and Finn Hanson of Burke. Hanson placed 6th in the second performance and 9th in the short go. Hanson finished 15th in the state followed by Dean with an 18th place finish.
Team Roping brought 50 teams to compete, Dean & Steffen placed 19th, Kade Starr & Phillips placed 22nd, and Schuyler & Volmer placed 37th.
Along with Petersek in the tiedown roping, Dean placed 5th in second performance, finishing 7th; Steffen placed 5th in the first performance, finishing 10th; Phillips finished 21st; Starr finished 40th; and Weston Vanderpol finished 56th.
The reined cow horse event, boys and girls participate together. Blasé Steffen placed 5th in the state followed by Dawson Phillips and Saydee Heath tied for 7th place.
Digger Rutten, of Colome, is the Public Relations Director for the SDHSRA. Rutten puts in many hours of hard work to promote the high school rodeo athletes.