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Regional reps score three top 20s at rodeo nationals

Roper Rathjen places 14th in two events
Shylene Drumm of Durango was one of several area kids who competed in the National Junior High School Finals Rodeo last week in Georgia. (Courtesy)

In a poker game, four of a kind is one of hardest hands to beat.

Holds true in rodeo as well, apparently.

Wacey Trujillo of Los Alamos, New Mexico, proved that June 19-25 in the girls goat-tying event at the 2022 National Junior High Finals, posting not only the top time in each of the first two go-rounds, but also in the Saturday night championship – or ‘short’ – go, clinching her first place in the average, to boot.

Durango’s Shylene Drumm, however, was one competitor who ensured Trujillo – who ultimately left Perry, Georgia, and the Georgia National Fairgrounds & Agricenter third in All-Around Cowgirl points – would have to earn her buckle(s).

Making her first attempt Tuesday morning, June 21, Drumm secured her goat in 8.48 seconds, just 0.03 behind Performance 4 leader Lana Houck of North Branch, Minnesota, and one which held up for 11th place – out of 115 entrants, including overall leader Trujillo (7.67), recording a time – in the first go.

Slowing to 10.29 seconds on her next try Thursday, Drumm still managed third place in Performance 9, and though her time was bumped down to 37th in the second-go standings, she still qualified for the short go as one of the NJHFR’s top 20 individuals in the specialty.

Unfortunately Drumm’s third goat proved most tricky, and though she managed a time of 14.89 seconds, she ended up 16th in the go and 17th in the average with final numbers of 33.66 on three. By comparison, Trujillo clocked 7.29 for a final total of 21.85 (7.67; 6.89; 7.29) on three.

Houck would go on to capture All-Around Rookie Cowgirl distinction as Minnesota finished 20th in the girls team standings with 640 accumulated points. Team Texas, with 5,210, locked up first place, Trujillo and New Mexico (2,850) came in fifth. Drumm, who also competed in breakaway roping, finishing 93rd in the average (12.76/1), and Colorado (400) 24th.

Colorado fared better in the boys championship chase, with Pagosa Springs’ Tucker Jacobson helping the Centennial State rack up a 10th-place 2,605 points. Texas (8,805) earned first, and New Mexico (5,020) second.

A two-event rough-stock entrant at the NJHFR, Jacobson ended up tying Brennan Polito of Marietta, Oklahoma, for 22nd in the average in bull riding, thanks to a 70-pointer Saturday, which not only paced Performance 12, but held up for fifth-best (out of 39 scoring attempts) in the entire second go.

Also able to cover one bull, Miguel Martinez of Chama, New Mexico, managed 68 points Monday morning (Performance 2) and ended 27th in the average. Despite finishing fifth in the short go with a 69.5, West Schroeder of Roscoe, Montana, scored an average-winning 221.5 (70; 81; 69.5) points on three head. Travis Lloyd of Challis, Idaho, won the short go with a 77.5, but was second overall with 210 (67; 65.5; 77.5) on three.

Tied with Wilson, Oklahoma’s Cody Nipp and Plymouth, California’s Madden Altschuler, for 32nd overall through the first go in bareback steer riding with a 55-point effort June 20, Jacobson then recorded a 56.5 Friday evening. The score was sixth-best in Performance 11 and good enough for 35th in the second go, but it wasn’t enough to advance him into the event’s short go; he ended up 30th in the average with 111.5/2 figures.

Qualifying for the short and placing third in it with a 69, St. Charles, South Dakota’s Taos Weborg won with 220 (80.5; 70.5; 69) points on three tries; Canadian Quaide Skjonsberg of Bluffton, Alberta, was right behind with 219 (75; 76; 68) after tying for fifth in the short go.

In pole bending, Bayfield’s Teagan McInnes had a busy day in Georgia. ; her first run was scheduled for Wednesday during the last performance (No. 6 overall at the NJHFR) of the first go-round, and her second attempt came that evening, during the first performance (No. 7) of the second go.

Clocking 22.173 seconds on her first weave, then 22.478 in her encore, McInnes stood 49th in the average (44.651/2) when all the dust had finally settled. From Canadian, Texas, but representing Team Oklahoma, Chaynee Slavin ultimately ranked first Travis Lloyd Travis Lloyd – out of at least 152 competitors – by totaling 60.843 (20.232; 20.387; 20.224) seconds on three runs. Short go winner Presley Gunter of Sulphur, Louisiana, was the runner-up 60.848 (20.897; 20.062; 19.889) on three.

Interstate and great

Competing for Team New Mexico, Rance Rathjen of Ignacio paired up with Stanley, New Mexico’s Macen Segura to place 14th overall in boys’ team roping. The duo logged 12.53 seconds during the first go-round, which ranked 10th, and added a 14th-place 13.51 during the second – in which the Land of Enchantment boasted three top 15 duos – for a total of 26.04.

Best in the average was Team Kansas’ tandem of Steele Smith (Medicine Lodge) and Logan Vander Hamm (Ingalls), which clocked 21.82 seconds (7.28; 7.59; 6.95) on three attempts, including first-place work in both the first and short go-rounds.

Rathjen, meanwhile, also placed 14th in tie-down roping, totaling 49.74 seconds (15.31; 21.90; 12.53) on three tries, including his 10th-place effort in the short go. Reno Scribner of Edgewood, New Mexico, won both the short go and the average with 34.59 (14.37; 11.04; 9.18) on three. Placing 15th in the short go, but 12th in the average, Segura tallied 47.14 (14.13; 16.73; 16.28).

During the 2021-22 season, Rathjen/Segura ranked second in NMJHRA team roping, and though Rathjen – seventh in NMJHRA All-Around Cowboy points – was an on-the-bubble fourth in tie-down, he still clinched his Nationals berth by 25 points.