GILLETTE – While everyone’s attention has been turned towards the upcoming Fall sports and the conclusion of baseball and softball around the state, the local high school rodeo phenoms that have put their blood, sweat and tears into rodeo this season capped off the year at the illustrious National High School Finals Rodeo (NHSFR). 

A few Fremont County athletes were present at the highest stage in High School Rodeo, but not many had the opportunity to showcase their skills the way they wanted to. One of those being Pavillion’s Aidan Ruby in the coveted Bull Riding event, finishing in the top ten at the Wyoming State Rodeo Championships a few weeks ago. 

Sadly, Ruby was bucked off in both of his first rounds, missing the short round. Another big name that was heavily favored coming out of Fremont County was Shoshoni’s Cannon Campbell in the Steer Wrestling category. 

Aidan Ruby, of Pavillion, got as much practice in as he could between the end of the regular season and the NHSFR last weekend (p/c Carl Cote)

Campbell, who did extremely well throughout the season jumping off the horse, scored a 14.62-second time in his first go. That time placed him outside the top seventy, meaning his time at the NHSFR was over shortly after it began. 

The Wyomingite that did the best in the Steer Wrestling event ended up being from Midwest, Wyoming in Jace Mayfield. Mayfield, who also finished third in the short round in Tie-Down Roping, had a time of 5.12 seconds in the second round of steer wrestling to finish 17th on the day but not high enough to qualify for the short rounds. 

A name that’s not from Fremont County, but still spends plenty of time in it, is Thermopolis’ Roedy Farrell who participated in the Bareback Riding event alongside Saratoga’s Tuker Carricato. Farrell found himself tied for 18th after the first go-round, scoring a 65 along with Cleburne, Texas’ Kash Loyd and Hartsel, Colorado’s Monte Downare. 

In the second go, Farrell did even better with his score of 70. That score tied him with two others at eleventh-best, just six points behind Carricato who ended up winning the world title in the event later on in the week. Also at the end of the week, Farrell sat at fourth after the final go-round with an impressive score of 77. 

So, although not many Wyomingite riders and racers finished on the top of the nation-wide competition there was two in the top five of the Bareback Riding event, including Carricato’s illustrious victory over the other 50 riders in Gillette. 

As far as the girls of Wyoming went, there were a few that did better than others but Fremont County’s Melanie Vigoren was the only one participating in the final week of the rodeo season. Sadly, Vigoren only finished with one bullseye in the Rifle Shooting short round, finishing 102nd overall. 

Girls like Rozet’s Shayda Lesmeister and Gillette’s Raelee Caldwell did represent the Cowboy State really well though. Lesmeister did so by finishing the first two rounds in eighth place in pole bending and Caldwell heading into the short round in Breakaway Roping with 6.95 seconds. 

Another girl that did well was Eden’s Morgan Watts in the Goat Tying event, placing first in the Thursday performances with a time of 7.29 seconds. Sheridan’s Abigail Olson also had a first-place performance on the first day of Pole Bending with a score of 20.253, just two-tenths of a second ahead of Montana’s Ella Begger. 

There were plenty of other strong performances throughout the week in almost every event, but Fremont County’s student athletes did their best and finished the season at the biggest and best rodeo in the country. That alone should be something to be proud of, and now they can put that on their resume for future rodeos as well as college scholarships. 

BY: Shawn O’Brate