Not behind a trigger at either of two rodeos-at which he did enter other events-held in appropriately-named Rifle, late in the Colorado Junior High Rodeo Association season, Bayfielder Mitchell Story, 13, shot well enough at the last regular-season stop in Montrose and again at the CJHRA State Finals to qualify for the 2017 National Junior High Finals Rodeo starting this Sunday, June 18.
"It's pretty cool-my rookie year, making it to nationals," he said Tuesday morning. "It's something that I tried out.to see if I liked it or not, and it's just kind of worked out for me."
"My dad was a sniper on a S.W.A.T. team, so it kind of made me want to do something kind of like that."
One of three Pine River Valley locals, and four overall from the Ignacio-based Basin Rodeo Club headed for Lebanon, Tenn., the Bayfield Middle School seventh grader clinched a firing-line berth with a three-round, third-place 377 at the Sand & Sage Fairgrounds in Lamar. That also secured him a third in the season-ending standings.
"I didn't really do as good as I thought I was going to," he said, hoping for a top-50 showing at the Wilson County Fairgrounds, "but I did all right for my first year."
Team ropers Holland and Teagan Roukema also qualified via their season-ending second-place status, solidified by a state-winning, three-round total time of 140.350 seconds.
"It's going to be pretty exciting," said 12-year-old heeler Teagan, about to be a seventh-grader at Ignacio Middle School. "We had a good run at State, but I hope we keep it going at nationals."
"We practiced every day," added header Holland, 14 and set to become a freshman at IHS this fall, "and it's pretty neat. I didn't think we were going to be able to pull it off; we were sitting fourth at the beginning, and we ended up coming out second!"
Also representing Colorado via the New Mexico Junior High Rodeo Association will be team roper Bodie Hine, set to become an IMS eighth-grader. With Peralta, New Mexico's Quincy Sullivan heading, Hine will heel. Sullivan, meanwhile, qualified for three NJHFR events in 2016 at age 12.
Hesperus rider Rhiley Morgan-Montoya will also be going in pole bending, barrel racing, goat-tying and breakaway roping.
She finished atop the goat-tying points table after a first-place 28.110/3 performance in Lamar. Her second-place 107.900/3 figures in breakaway kept her third overall in that specialty, and she also finished third in barrels after taking third (54.905/3) at State, and ninth overall in poles after a tenth-place 108.350/3 effort.
Competition in Tennessee is scheduled to run through Saturday, June 24.
The NHSRA's 2017 National High School Finals, meanwhile, is set for July 16-22 at the CAM-Plex in Gillette, Wyo., and Basin Rodeo will be well represented there as well.
Ignacio's Dustin Sanchez recorded the club's best individual result at Sand & Sage with a third-place, three-round score of 622 in rifle. Teammate Dalton Mickey was right behind in fourth with a 584, but he and Sanchez finished tied for third in the season-ending standings, guaranteeing each a place at nationals.
By comparison Eastern Plains entrant Cauy Pennington of Kiowa won State with a 681. Lane Schaaf of Chromo was second with 670, and the two also placed 1-2 in the year-end standings.
Also Wyoming-bound will be Hesperus' Lexie Crawford, who took second (via a three-round 210) at State and third overall in girls' cutting, and Schaaf who took third (49.430/3) at State and fourth overall in steer wrestling.
ADDITIONAL STATE RESULTS: Rough-stock events proved to be precisely that for Basin Rodeo in Lamar. Saddle bronc rider Mark Kempinski of Ignacio had no scoring rides recorded, and neither did bull riders Stocker Robbins, Mickey, Sanchez, Lorenzo Peña and Hunter Robbins, as apparently only two bulls were covered.
Bayfielder Madison Story finished 18th overall in barrel racing, clocking 18.834 and 18.413 seconds on her first two State runs before an unsuccessful third knocked her from contention. She fared much better in pole bending, however, placing fifth in the average (64.765/3) at State and seventh overall in points.
By comparison, Mancos' Breanna Maxwell was the southwest's top finisher in both-taking seventh in barrels via a sixth-place 55.988/3 at State and an impressive second in poles via her third-place 64.100/3.
In junior-high boys' goat-tying, Holland Roukema finished seventh in the season-ending points, securing two of three head in Lamar and placing ninth, while Story ended up 11th after posting a successful three-goat time of 64.830 and placing seventh.
Holland Roukema also ended up sixth in tie-down roping after placing fifth (232.100/3).