For the second time in as many years the B.C. High School Rodeo Finals rode into Williams Lake on the weekend combining the top rodeo athletes from the north and south.
Up for grabs was an opportunity to advance to the National Finals Rodeo and the Canadian Finals Rodeo, both being held later this summer. The top four in each event earned a berth at nationals (Rock Springs, Wy., July 15-21) while the top five landed a spot at Canadians (Virden, Man., Aug 2-4).
From the Williams Lake area Matt Armes (saddle bronc, steer wrestling, calf roping and team roping), Jaime-Dean Macdonald (goat tying), Kate Barnett (cutting), Chad Braaten (cutting, calf roping and team roping) and Madison Smith (barrel racing) competed.
For some the rodeo, which ran Thursday to Sunday at the Williams Lake Stampede grounds, provided an opportunity to advance their careers — the hopes of potential future scholarships and bursaries on the line — while for others, the rodeo finished with disappointment.
For Armes, the rodeo couldn’t have ended on a better note. His third go in steer wrestling brought the crowd to its feet and he stood, with a 7.1-second run, third on the day — good enough for fifth overall and a spot at Canadians.
Armes, 16 and in Grade 11 still with another year of competition to go in his high school career, also split third and fourth place in saddle bronc riding, qualifying him for both Canadians and nationals.
“Today [Sunday] was my best day,” Armes said. “I’m pretty happy with it.”
However, Armes said he’s unsure whether he’ll travel to both Canadians and nationals.
“It’s kind of undecided,” he said. “If I make it in steer wrestling [for both] I’ll probably go. Right now I’m in the bronc riding so I might see if I can throw my gear bag in with someone else and go with them. It’s a big effort by everybody to go. It depends on who’s got rides where and who can take how many horses and all that.”
Armes, competing in just his second year of rodeo, added he hopes to qualify for both rodeos next year in his Grade 12 season.
“Next year I’ll be a bit more honed at my skills and I’ll be able to compete a little bit better on the Canadian level whereas nationals we’re competing against guys who are 21 going right into the pros.”
150 Mile House cowboy Braaten, in cutting, took second on day one, third on day two and third on day three. He also finished ninth in calf roping on his first go, followed up with a fourth-place finish in go two. Braaten also split fourth and fifth in team roping during the second rodeo performance.
Barnett ended up ninth in cutting on both days one and two.
For more results and overall finishes see Thursday’s Tribune.