Riders and Ropers Enjoy Rush of Rodeo at High School Finals


"Right when you nod your head in the chute, you don’t think about anything."

Time seems to slow down when Cade Svoboda sits atop his horse, in a sport that combines raw power, speed, and grace.

"Get to thinking about what you need to do," the Ord junior said. "A lot of adrenaline rushing through."

Think wrestling’s a tough sport? Try doing it when your opponent not only outweighs you, but has a running start.

Svoboda said, "Steer wrestling’s kind of like wrestling I guess, you and the steer." That’s the challenge, and thrill, of steer wrestling.

It's just one event to enjoy at this week’s state high school rodeo.

Event Chair Judy Mignery said, "This is their state finals, just like state basketball, volleyball, this is the state rodeo finals."

Svoboda is among the top ranked in two events, steer wrestling and bareback riding.

"They're kind of the more adrenaline rushing events," he said.

These kids and their horses are athletes. And the farm system… is the farm.

Svoboda said, "Sometimes we have to go to pasture and get a bull, we rope a lot at home, just do things with horses."

Their season began in September and didn’t stop even when kids like Sydney Graff were busy with basketball and volleyball.

She said, "After we get done with those practices we go and saddle horses and practice 'til it's dark."

All for a shot at this, a state championship, in front of a crowd that’ll be on the edge of their seats at the Adams County Fairgrounds watching.

Mignery said, "You sit in the stands and it's almost like you're riding a horse with them, it's exciting."

Events continue through Saturday at the Adams County Fairgrounds in Hastings.

Learn more about the events here and the association here.