ROCK SPRINGS – After a long, stressful high school rodeo season for much of Wyoming, the state finals took place this past weekend and allowed some local riders, wrestlers and rifle shooters to make a push for the national finals in Gillette during mid-July. The top four in each event moves on to the next level and participates at the Cam-Plex Facility. 

One of the more popular events, bareback riding, had six of eight riders finish with strong scores on the first go that ended with Saratoga’s Tuker Carricato on top with 80 points. Carricato was followed closely by Thermopolis’ Roedy Farrell (75 points), but both ended up tying in the second go with 70 points a piece. 

Those scores of 70 were enough to tie them with Gillette’s Kale Roswadovski for second, just one point shy of Carlile’s Chaz Dewey (71). In the end, Carricato took home first place and finished at the top of the leaderboard with 226 points, only eight points ahead of Thermopolis’ star rider, Farrell, with 218. 

Another local name that was at the top by the end of the weekend was Pavillion’s Melanie Vigoren in the light rifle event, putting up a score of 300 points. That was enough to give Vigoren first place in the event, twelve points ahead of Cheyenne’s Bricen Baktamarian (288) who barely edged out Big Piney’s Sharianne Brower (286) for second place. 

The girls from Fremont County were on fire in Rock Springs, taking advantage of the competition all over the place. This was prevalent, again, in the pole bending event as Riverton’s Aislynn Vroman (21.29 seconds) finished with the second-fastest time on her first go. Sadly, the second go for Vroman did not yield any points but she still finished in the top ten at the end of the state tournament. Shoshoni’s Irelynn Campbell also participated in the pole bending event and finished the second go in the top ten with a 22.973 second performance. 

Vroman added another good finish in the barrel racing event with a ninth-place time of 17.936 seconds but her second go (18.017 seconds) was just outside the times to earn more points.

Shoshoni’s other Campbell, Cannon, had a phenomenal season in steer wrestling and it continued again in the first go with a time of 9.49 seconds. Campbell’s next go didn’t go as well for the Shoshoni football player but it wouldn’t matter as he finished fourth on the season and punched his ticket to Gillette with a final score of 162.5 points, following Midwest’s Jace Mayfield (235.3) who took first place. 

Finally, one of the biggest and most watched events, bull riding, will also be featuring a local rider thanks to a fourth-place finish from Aidan Ruby at the end of the season. In the first go he put up a score of 40, good for fifth on the day, but then, after two rounds he finished with a final score of 131, sneaking in behind Manila’s Ashton Slaugh (148) and tying Cody’s Owen Monfeldt. 

Overall, the national finals will be holding quite a good group of local rodeo superstars. And the ones that just missed the cut will now have more fuel for the fire next season, hopefully hopping over the line in the sand and making the finals after some more practice and tournaments around Wyoming. 

BY: Shawn O’Brate

Below are some photos of both the High School and Junior High Rodeo Finals, courtesy of Clinton Foster out of Gillette: