Killdeer’s Riley Blankenship eyes a national title

Killdeer’s Riley Blankenship had his eyes set on returning home with a national title, and Sunday evening the recent high school graduate took a big first step to making that dream a reality.

Posted July 15, 2013

In the opening day of the National High School Finals Rodeo at the Sweetwater Events Complex in Rock Springs, Wyo., Blankenship finished Sunday in first place in the Bull Riding event with a score of 79. Only four bull riders were in action that day. Jake Gowdy of Bristow, Okla., was in second with a score of 76. J.B. Moen of Elrose, Saskatchewan, Canada, and Michael Hurley of Gray Court, S.C., finished the round tied at third with a score of 71.

Blankenship won the North Dakota State Finals Rodeo Bull Riding event held in Bowman last month. He was one of two Dunn County cowboys to qualify for Nationals. Also qualifying was Jake Benson of Dunn Center. Benson’s first two go rounds both take place Wednesday.

To qualify for Nationals, cowboys and cowgirls had to place in the top four at their respective state rodeo finals.

Blankenship was the lone Dunn County resident to see action Sunday.

Currently, North Dakota ranks sixth in the team standings with 790 points. California is in the lead with 1085 points followed by Utah with 150 points and Oklahoma with 965 points.

In the boys team standings, Utah is ranked first with 850 points followed by Oklahoma with 595 points. North Dakota is sixth with 450 points.

In the girls team standings, California is first with 780 points followed by Alberta with 560 points and Nevada with 530. North Dakota is tied for 12th place with Wisconsin with 340 points.

The National High School Rodeo Finals concludes Saturday with the championship rounds.

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