Rodeo contestants receive scholarships

09_rye-will0283COWBOY SCHOLARS  — From the left, Rye O’Neal from Valier and Will Shirley from Conrad both received $3,000 scholarships at the Montana State High School finals rodeo held recently in Bozeman. O’Neal will be going to school in Bozeman and Shirley will head to Western Montana in Dillon.  Photo courtesy of Sandy Shirley





A number of local rodeo contestants received scholarships to help them along with their education after taking part in the high school finals in Bozeman.

The awards came from the Montana Pro Rodeo Hall and Wall of Fame. Will Shirley of Conrad and Rye O’Neal of Valier each pocketed a $3,000 scholarship.

The funds will be paid directly to the school of their choice and be used for authorized educational expenses.

O’Neal is planning on attending MSU-Bozeman and Shirley will be attending Montana Western in Dillon to rodeo for the Bulldogs.

Calvin Ophus and Allison Bruner each received $300 scholarships.

Ophus, a Conrad High School graduate, qualified for the national high school rodeo finals and Shirley who placed eighth in saddle bronc riding and O’Neal who was in 12th place qualified for the Silver State International Rodeo in Nevada.

Cole Wagoner, also from Valier, placed 15th in the year end standings and earned a trip to the Nevada rodeo, in bull riding, as well.

Bruner ended up in eighth place out of over 65 contestants after the first two go-rounds in pole bending. She and Taylour Russell placed just outside the top 15 for year end standings in pole bending.

Russell ended up in 14th in the year end standings in barrel racing.