High school rodeo: Rodeo champions decided at state event

Published: Saturday, June 7 2014 10:45 p.m. MDT

Justin Wilcken of Uintah hangs on during the bull riding event in the Utah high school rodeo finals Saturday, June 7, 2014 in Heber City.

Hugh Carey, Deseret News

HEBER CITY — Addy Haviland's fingerprints are all over high school rodeo.

Not only does she compete in all girls events sanctioned by the Utah High School Rodeo Association, she also qualified for the state finals in four of those events — team roping, goat tying, breakaway roping and cutting. She's also wrapping up her year as the UHSRA vice president, and is preparing to begin her season as president.

What else would you expect from the Mountain Crest junior? Rodeo is in her blood.

"I've been doing it since I can remember, since I was just little," she said during the UHSRA state finals at the Wasatch County Events Complex on Saturday evening. "My older brother and sister high school rodeoed and my parents rodeoed and my grandparents rodeoed. It's just what we do."

Haviland's time in the goat tying on Saturday was 12.97 seconds, five seconds slower than first place. Still, she felt she gained something from the experience.

"I guess if you're not winning, you're learning," she said. "That's the only thing I can take from it."

Although the performance was not what she wanted, Haviland is pleased with how her horse, Ace, is learning the skill.

"I just barely started her goat tying because my other one was getting a little too crazy getting in the arena," Haviland said. "She's pretty young still, she's only 5, and she's been working really good for me. Now that she's doing her job, I can't seem to do mine."

In the team roping event, however, things ended a little different. Haviland and her partner Dylin Ahlstrom of Grantsville placed third in the final round with a time of 8.13. The success in that event is fitting as it is her favorite.

"I've always said it's the only event I can beat the boys in," she said of the event that is traditionally male-dominated. "I just started roping when I was little and I always have loved it."

Top finishers in the team roping on Saturday were partners Austin Carter and Dax Barnson, both of southern Utah. The former also earned first in the tie-tdown event while the latter was second in tie-down.

Brothers Ruster and Ryder Wright of Milford finished first and second, respectively, in the saddle bronc event and Sil Bundy of Desert Hills placed first in steer wrestling with a time of 3.63.

"I had a 3.9 once, but (it doesn't happen very often)," Bundy said in the winner's circle after the event. "I had a good steer and just took care of him."

Alexa Smith won Saturday's round of goat tying with a time of 7.87. It was due, she said, to how well her horse worked with her.

"I would like to thank my friends and family for all the support," she said in the winner's circle, "and I'd like to thank my grandpa for giving me an amazing horse to ride."

Complete final results will be posted on the UHSRA website at uhsra.org.

Sarah Thomas earned a degree in Mathematics from the University of Utah and is currently pursuing an MBA at Westminster College. She has been covering sports for the Deseret News since 2008.

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