VALLEY CITY-- Thunder and lightning weren’t the only effects coming out of the N.D. Winter Show arenas in Valley City this past weekend, September 16-18 as the N..D High School Fall rodeo season ended.
Adversity is the word that sums up the last weekend of their fall season. Facing difficulties and misfortune with weather, challenging arena conditions and the dynamic of various stock draws, contestants used the challenges as steppingstones to face triumph.
Cowgirls soared to the occasion in fall rainstorm conditions and rode their horses in true Dakota fashion to conquer the cloverleaf pattern and leave the raindrops as glimpses of character-building blocks for their rodeo careers and their futures in general.
When the tough get going, cowgirls just go faster, exclaimed one spectator viewing the barrel racing in the mud.
CeeJay Bohmbach, 14, Stanley, and her horse Matlock shined through the mud with a third-place finish on Saturday. They turned around to win 2nd place in the opposite-sized pattern and atmosphere in the indoor arena on Sunday.
The bond between the 13-year-old grey gelding and the Blue Jay freshman has been in the making for three years. CeeJay has been riding and roping through the ranks of N.D. youth rodeos, junior high, Roughrider Rodeos, jackpots, and now high school rodeo and NDRA’s. The duo sealed up the fall season sitting first in the barrel racing standings.
Will Demontigny, sophomore Bottineau Braves linebacker and all-around N.D. high school rodeo cowboy, placed in the top four of the bareback riding on Saturday.
“I kind of came out of the chute a little weak on #151X yesterday. I kept on fighting for my feet and was looking for the buzzer. It all ended well,” explained Will. “I enjoy high school rodeo because we get two shots in a weekend to compete in all our events from the rough stock to the roping. I have a lot of friends here too.”
Future short-term goals for the Bottineau Brave include to maintain a 3.5 or above GPA, make it to nationals in high school rodeo this spring and make it to the Fargo Dome with the Braves football team. Playing football Saturday evening post-rodeo, the team and Demontigny came out with the win.
Stran Sorenson, sophomore at Watford City and his partner, Kash Berdahl, a fellow Watford City sophomore, took home Saturday’s team roping win.
“It was great. Honestly, I just tracked up and made sure to catch. We are good friends and have been roping together awhile. This win meant a lot,” explained Berdahl.
“It was awesome. I just went to make a clean run. Kash and I have been roping together for almost six years. My header is my friend,” laughed Sorenson as he rode off to compete in the tie-down roping.
Maklain Kleemann, 15-year-old freshman from Killdeer, had a smoking seven second goat-tying run for a first-place finish.
“This is the first goat tying buckle I’ve won between junior high and high school, even qualifying for nationals I never won a go-round buckle for goats,” added Kleeman. “I really over flanked my goat and got kicked in the head but finished strong.”
Maklain homeschools and rodeos, those are pretty much my full-time gigs explained the cowgirl. She has four goats at home and her horse Lanai, a fourteen-year-old gelding that keeps her company along with her siblings and the Killdeer mountains as her backdrop.
Alexander all-around cowgirl, Paige Delaney, 15, was excited while discussing the fall N.D. high school rodeo season.
“I was very happy with our home-raised and home-made barrel racing and pole bending mare, Frenchie. She is getting consistent,” said Delaney.
“If my horse a was person, she would be the friend that is there for you no matter the day you’re having. She is going to give you everything she has, every run,” explained Delaney about her palomino mare.
Delaney is the fifth generation of her ranching family and is a cowgirl through and through in the heart of western North Dakota. The Adolf Ruud family homesteaded south of Alexander on the family ranch that Delaney spends most her time acquiring her horsemanship, roping, and caring for livestock skill set. Unlike most traditional ranches that are passed down to men, this one was passed down to each daughter in the next generation.
“At the end of the day, I like basketball but ranching and training horses is where I really like to be,” added Delaney with a smile.
General manager of the Valley City Winter Show, Brandee Moore, stated, “This is a big weekend for the community of Valley City. Between the restaurants, hotels, and fuel stations—it is a huge economic impact. We make sure the businesses have a heads up when the high school rodeo contestants and their families are coming to town.”
Sunday’s champion tie-down roper, Weston Lapierre,17, Killdeer, tied his calf in 9.67 seconds hunting for his spot at a state title. The young cowboy always gives a smile and ‘thanks’ to his horse, Wild Mike.
Lapierre competes in the tie-down, team roping and steer wrestling and was recently on the homecoming court for the Killdeer Cowboys.
As for now, horses and stock are being fed, hay is being put up and ready for the N..D winter, and rodeo athletes across the state are going to prepare all winter for their goals and dreams of getting to compete in the spring.
For more information and results, visit: ndhsra.org