By GWENDOLYN WEILER
Moapa Valley Progress
Hannah Fullmer and Cole Christensen burst forward on horseback in hot pursuit of the calf that has just been released from the shoot. Within moments, the young cow has been roped and lead back to the corral as two more teammates get into position in the distance behind them.
Fullmer and Christensen are two of the four members of the Moapa Valley Junior High/High School Rodeo Club going to nationals this year.
Cole Christensen is participating in the National High School Rodeo Association Finals in Rock Springs, Wyoming on July 15-20; while Rilee Christensen, Trinity Scronce, and Hannah Fullmer are participating in the National Junior High Rodeo Association Finals in Huron, South Dakota, June 24-30.
The team is hosting a team roping event on Saturday, June 16 at the Clark County Fairgrounds in order to raise money to help offset the expenses associated with competing. The cost for each student is as much as $5,000, said team director Troy Christensen. Each student is responsible for covering the expenses themselves.
“We’re not backed; we don’t get school money or grants or things like that,” said Troy.
Admission to Saturday’s fundraiser event is free, but there is an entry fee for entrants. Registration will be held from 6:30-7:30 p.m. prior to the event. For more information, call Troy at 435-590-6588.
“Come out for good food and good watching!” said Troy.
The roping will begin about 8 p.m., once it cools down, and will likely go until midnight, depending on the number of entrants, said Troy.
A taco truck will be on site serving food from 5-9 p.m. (possibly later, depending on demand). All food proceeds will be donated to the team. The money raised will be split between the four national qualifiers, said Troy.
The event will be held just days before the junior high students hit the road for South Dakota. It will be a long trip but travelling is a usual part of the package for these kids. Amber Fullmer, who has a daughter competing, said, “Every kid on this team knows every small town in this state and what the weather is like there.”
The team is comprised of six students, which makes them one of the smallest teams in the state, said Amber, but they are ranked as one of the highest teams statewide when you consider the percentage of their team members who are going to nationals. “And there’s not a single kid here that didn’t make the top 10,” she added.
Whether these students go on to win or lose, all six team members unilaterally agree that participating in the rodeo is worth it and has taught them a lot of lessons they can apply for the rest of their lives.
“You lose a lot and you win some, too,” said Trinity Scronce, “so you have to learn how to be a good loser and a humble winner.”