By Treena Mielke
Rimbey-area teens are sporting saddles and buckles after successfully competing in the Canadian High School Rodeo Finals in Virden, Man. earlier this month.
Levi Lloyd, Taylor Smith and Kennedy Smith all put in a good showing and all have the hardware to show it.
Taylor Smith and Levi Lloyd, who had qualified for their events earlier at the National High School Rodeo at Gillette, Wy., each won a saddle and a buckle.
Lloyd who finished in 10th position in the steer wrestling in Nationals won the event in Canadians running a 4.2 second run in the final round, earning the grand prize.
The 17-year-old Rimbey Grade 12 student is pleased with his win.
“That was the game plan, to come out good, I wanted to be in the top three.”
However, being the overall winner was even better, he said.
“I was so excited. It was a big adrenalin rush,” he said. “Rodeo is my passion. I love it.”
Taylor Smith, who finished 11th in the breakaway roping at Nationals, also came out a winner at the Canadians, bringing home a trophy saddle and a buckle after winning the HiPoint Girls Championship and the pole bending competition.
The 18-year-old Rimbey teen went into the Canadians with high expectations. “I had been practicing a lot and my sister was kind enough to let me borrow her horse, Hickory.”
Taylor, who is off to Portales, N. M. where she will attend university on a rodeo scholarship, is excited but nervous about her new venture.
“It will be fun, a really good experience, but it is a long way from home. I have mixed emotions for sure.”
Meanwhile, her 13-year-old sister, Kennedy, who captured a buckle at Canadians for winning the pole bending competition, plans to keep on rodeoing.
“I was really happy to win the pole bending, but I did have problems in the barrel racing. But in two weekends I will be competing again at a high school rodeo in Stettler.
“I like everything about rodeoing,” she said. “It’s fun and all my friends are there.”
Nicole Smith, Taylor and Kennedy’s mother, noted that members of the Alberta High School Rodeo Association won saddle championships in senior high barrels, poles, breakaway roping, team roping, steer wrestling, girls cutting, bareback and HiPoint girl and boy in the provincials. Junior High Championship Buckles in barrels, poles, chute dogging, tie down roping, ribbon roping and breakaway roping were also awarded to Alberta participants.
Saddles awarded to junior high HiPoint girls and boys were also given out, as were awards for numerous reserve and third-place finishers from communities in Alberta.