Karly Bang and Ty Truchan got a taste of the National High School Rodeo Finals last year, and the two Killdeer High School students are eager to get back.
By Bryan Gallegos
But they must first wade their way through the rugged state competition this spring.
They are members of the Killdeer rodeo club, which has 14 cowboys and cowgirls.
The season actually started in the fall and many have made big strides toward qualifying for the state finals in Bowman. The second season gets started on April 22-23 with rodeos in Fargo.
Although the club is made up of Killdeer students, it is not affiliated with the school or the North Dakota Activities Association and does not participate as a team. The cowboys and cowgirls compete on their own in rodeos throughout North Dakota for a spot in the State Finals in Bowman. From there, they have the opportunity to qualify for the National High School Finals Rodeo in Gillette, Wyo.
The season is split in the fall and spring season where the cowboys and cowgirls compete for points that will help them qualify. The top 24 in each event are eligible for the state rodeo.
The spring season kicks off with a rodeo in Fargo April 22-23. They will compete in six rodeos leading up to the state finals. In the past, Killdeer hosted a rodeo, but will not do so this year.
“With all the work done down around our arena, there is no longer space we need for parking and set-up of stalls,” said Killdeer coach Janis Harris.
Killdeer’s rodeo will be held in Williston on May 7. Since the cowboys and cowgirls participate in a rodeo in Williston on May 6, Killdeer rodeo officials figured it would be more convenient to remain in Williston a second day.
“We are very disappointed to have to do this, but feel there is no choice in the matter,” Harris said. “We are hoping all of our supporters and sponsors understand the position we are in and will back us in this very difficult decision.”
The youths, however, are eager to get going where ever the rodeo is held.
Seniors Katelynn Lane, Rope Smith, Ty Truchan and Tommy Hall are competing in the spring. Lane will be in barrel racing and pole bending. Smith and Truchan compete in steer wrestling, team roping and tie-down roping. Hall competes in team roping and tie-down roping.
Brooklyn Reiss competes in barrel racing, pole bending and breakaway roping. Dawson Schmelng in in team roping and tie-down roping, while Garrett LeMieux competes in team roping and Ryan Walker is in bull riding.
Bang is among a contingent of sophomore on the team. She participates in barrel racing, breakaway roping, goat tying, pole bending and cow cutting. Bailey Smith also competes in barrel racing and breakaway roping and will compete in the Queen contest.
Riley Reiss is in team roping, steer wrestling and tie-down roping, while Zane Pittsley competes in team roping.
Freshman Mason Bice competes in team roping while Daylon Danks is in team roping and tie-down roping.
The club also includes: junior high students Ashton Frei, Cayden Kling, Tyler Hansen, Myranda Reiss, and Kelly Bang.