The Wyoming rodeo team finished third with 7,981.36 points at the 74th annual National High School Finals Rodeo (NHSFR) which wrapped up on Saturday at the Cam-Plex Event Center in Gillette, Wyoming.
Texas (11,430 points) was the overall team winner followed by Utah (9,278.03). The NHSFR ran from July 17 to July 23.
Leading the way for Wyoming was Rayne Grant of Wheatland who won the all-around cowgirl with 1,610 points while Ashlyn Goven (650 points) of Rozet also had a strong finish with fourth. Wyoming finished second in the girls division with 4,338.03 points behind Texas, which won with 6,600 points.
Wyoming’s boys were third with 3,743.33 points in its division to finish behind second place finisher Texas (4,830) and Utah (5,565 points). Broc Schwartzkopf of Douglas had 580 points to finish seventh in the all-around cowboy to lead the boys.
This year’s NHSFR included 1,716 contestants with 44 American states, five provinces of Canada and competitors from Mexico all represented, according to a press release from the National High School Rodeo Association. There was over $718,000 in prize money.
Wyoming played host to the event for the first time since 2017, according to the Gillette News Record. Gillette has hosted the event 12 times since 1993.
Gov. Mark Gordon addressed the crowd on the opening night of the event.
“It’s great to be here tonight, and it’s great to welcome this event back to the state of Wyoming,” Gordon said. “It’s just awesome seeing these stands so full. Just being able to see these contestants get out there and compete is great to see. Rodeo is America.”
Gordon added: “This is just a fabulous rodeo and Campbell County has always been the home of the national high school rodeo. It’s just great to see it return back here.”
Grant’s all-around cowgirl win was led by a first-place finish in pole bending and second place in barrel racing. Goven was 10th in both the pole bending and barrel racing events for her top event finishes. Schwartzkopf’s top event finish was sixth in the reined cow horse event.
Wyoming had several other event Top 10 finishes. Tucker Carricato of Saratoga won the bareback riding event, Hayden Welsh of Gillette was second in bull riding, Rae Lee Caldwell of Gillette and Tavy Leno of Sheridan were fourth and fifth respectively in goat tying, Kaeley Hutchison of Rozet was fifth in breakaway roping, Jade Espenscheid of Big Piney and Cord Herring of Veteran were sixth in team roping and Jake Schlattmann of Greybull was seventh in the saddle bronc.