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Not their first rodeo


The Paso High rodeo team takes on the California Mid-State Classic led by Dennish, Varian, and Burke

[dropcap size=small]H[/dropcap]igh school rodeo, unheard of to some, is a hidden gem of talent that at PRHS. Recently, freshmen Kate Dennish, Kincade Varian and junior Loretta Burke competed at CHSRA D7 and ended up with fruitful results. Taking place on November 16th 17th and 18th, the rodeo, California Mid-State Classic, included over 200 high school students.

     Bearcat freshman Kate Dennish competed in Pole Bending, an event in which the rider is required to move their horse in and out of six poles at the fastest speed they can. Barrel Racing, which is when the rider and horse swing themselves around three barrels at a very fast pace and Goat Tying, which requires the participant to ride their horse out, quickly dismount in front of the goat in front of them, and tie all four of their legs together harmlessly, and as fast as possible.

     Dennish has participated in Rodeo since she was just 5 years old and has worked hard to get where she is now.  In order to maintain the great results, she practices her heart out, spending an hour on poles and barrel racing every day of practice.

    “But for goats I am practicing for maybe 2-3 hours,” Dennis said. “I have two horses Halo and Carson.”

     After spending weeks preparing for her three events, Dennish was feeling ready on the day of the event. Out of the 133 girls in the pole bending 

category, Dennish drew 6th, meaning she was up towards the beginning of the event. After the draw in front of her finished– she goes! Dennish rode her horse, Halo into the arena in preparation for her first run. The clock started and she raced down the ring, carefully dodging all but one pole. She finished with a first run of 24.598 seconds, but is forced to add five seconds because of the pole she hit. She ends with a time of 29.598. Her second run goes much smoother. After weaving in and out of the poles, she completes the run with a time of 23.073.

     Dennish’s strongest event at the Mid-State Classic was barrel racing, which she placed 6th in. Similar to Pole Bending, this event requires her to quickly pivot her horse as fast as possible. The three barrels placed in the arena require Dennish and her horse to be well practiced, full of agility, and speedy, too. Drawing near the middle of the pack this time, Dennish prepared herself to go 80th, near the middle of the pack.

     Racing around the barrels, she swung her horse carefully but diligently and completed her first attempt with a time of 18.102 seconds, which she improved minorly on her second go with a time of 17.475.

     Kincade Varian, another member of the team, placed top 5 in calf roping. Varian has found his passion in rodeo and has been showing his skills for the past 11 years. It takes time and practice, in order to maintain the skills that earned him the top 5 spot in calf roping, Varian said.

     Loretta Burke, a junior attending PRHS and an FFA member, took her horses and competed in Pole Bending, Breakaway Roping, and Goat Tying. Burke has done rodeos for  practically her entire life. “I started riding when I was six and started competing in rodeos when I was 8.” she said. Burke placed 5th in Pole Bending and 7th in Goat tying. Burke came back with a smile on her face.

     Aside from the work that goes into the preparations for each rodeo event, they get plenty of time to have fun too. Varian says his favorite part of the sport is spending time with his friends.

     “My favorite part about rodeo is the community it makes. When you spend close to every weekend together it creates a bond like no other,” Burke said.

     “Rodeos are very strict,” Dennish said. Participants must stay in a button-up shirt, flared jeans, a belt, and rodeo hat. If they are spotted during the event not wearing “Western Attire,” students are disqualified. Similar to FFA, the attire rule teaches responsibility and give important organization skills. With these accomplishments, the PRHS rodeo team is carrying on the yearly trend of success. “You find yourself rooting for your competitors who are also your friends. And no other sport I’ve played has had that,” Burke said.

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