Rimbey teen outruns her closest competition

TREENA MIELKE/Rimbey Review

A Rimbey teen will compete nationally in barrel racing and pole bending at the world’s largest junior high rodeo in Gallup, N. M. after qualifying at the provincial level in both events.

Thirteen-year-old Kennedy Smith, a Grade 8 student at Rimbey Junior/Senior High School, won the Alberta High School Rodeo junior division barrel racing championship at the Alberta finals in Nanton May 13 to 15.

She placed fourth in the pole bending competition.

Smith went into the finals after travelling to weekend rodeos throughout Alberta in April and May competing in break-away, roping, team roping, goat tying, ribbon roping and pole bending as well as barrel racing.

The dark-haired teen, who has been completing since she was three years old, spends hours working with her buckskin quarter horse Hickory practicing to perfect her skills.

She very much enjoys participating in rodeos and is looking forward to traveling to Gallup in June. “I like it a lot. It’s just fun.”

Smith is a member of the Lakeland Rodeo and Wildrose Rodeo Associations.

Rodeoing is a family affair for the Smith family.

Seventeen-year-old Taylor and 14-year-old Sam, Kennedy’s older sisters, both compete as well.

“This is the sixth year in a row we have been to Gallup,” said the girls’ mother. The annual National Junior High Finals Rodeo features more than 1,000 contestants from 47 states, Canadian provinces and Australia.

In addition to competing for more than $75,000 in prizes, contestants will also be vying for more than $100,000 in college scholarships and the chance to be named the National Junior High Finals Rodeo National Champion.

Along with great rodeo competition and the chance to meet new friends from around the world, NJHFR contestants have the opportunity to enjoy volleyball, tug-of-war, contestant dances, family-oriented activities sponsored by Fellowship of Christian Cowboys and the chance to shop the NJHFR western tradeshow, as well as visit the historical attractions of New Mexico and nearby Arizona.