BAREBACK RIDERS — Calvin Ophus (L) and Caban Wrzesinski show the buckles they won at the National High School Rodeo contest. They were the only Montana bareback riders to receive buckles. Ophus will be a senior at CHS when school begins later this month. Photo courtesy of Vicki Ophus
July 23, will be a date that is hard to forget for Calvin Ophus of Conrad.
After spending a week in Gillette, at the National High School Rodeo Finals it all came down to a final ride.
The 63rd annual National High School Finals Rodeo is the largest rodeo in the world with approximately 12,500 members in 41 U.S. states, five Canadian provinces and the country of Australia participating.
Each state or provincial association holds rodeos throughout the year, culminating in a Finals rodeo at which the top four contestants in each event are determined and sent to the National Finals.
Approximately 1,500 contestants participate in 13 events, making it the largest rodeo in the world.
From Sunday evening through Saturday morning, each contestant competes twice in two go-rounds. After these go-rounds the top twenty contestants in each event return on Saturday evening to compete in a final “short” go-round where the national champion in each event is determined.
In the first round, Ophus scored a 69 point ride on his bareback horse and was tied for places 12 to 14 in that round. In the second round on Friday night, he scored a 47 with an option of a re-ride. He took the re-ride and had a 75 point ride.
This was good for winning the second round and moving him up to the third seat for the average. He came back on Saturday night as one of the top 20 and had a great ride with a score of 72 points, which was good for second in the round and second for the average.
This made Ophus the reserve bareback riding champion for the year 2010-2011. Ophus is going to be a senior this fall at Conrad High School, and is looking forward to another great year.
Other Montana competitors who moved up to the short go were: Cavan Wrzesinski, bareback riding; Guy Nordahl and Parker Breding Bull Riding; Lauren Reiser, Girls Cutting; Newt Novich and Garrett Hanson, steer wrestling; and Collin Johnson and Dakota Louis, team roping. Wrzesinski and Breding placed tenth in their events. Overall, the Montana team placed fifth.