National rodeo queen helps Utah claim prep title

National rodeo queen helps Utah claim prep title



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FALLON, Nev. (AP) -- Thanks to a top finish by the reigning national high school rodeo queen, Utah's team claimed its eighth straight title at one of the West's biggest high-school rodeos.

"This proves queens can ride too," said Michelle Johnson of Tremonton, Utah. "It's awesome."

Johnson, the reigning National High School Rodeo Association queen, won the barrel racing event as well as logging the most points for the all-around cowgirl award Saturday night at the Silver States International Rodeo at the Churchill County Fairgrounds in Fallon.

Chase Sullivan, another Utah cowboy from St. George, won the all-around cowboy title. Utah more than doubled the team point total of second-place Idaho -- 8,135 to 3,650.

California finished third, followed by Nevada and Montana in the competition that featured more than 500 contestants from 10 U.S. Western states as well as two Canadian provinces and four bull riders from Pennsylvania.

The overall runners-up were Mariah Wilcox of Spanish Springs, Nev., and Cy Eames of Gooding, Idaho. Wilcox and her older sister, Jessi, finished fourth in team roping, while Eames and his partner, Justin Parke, came in third.

The top four finishers in each event advance to the national finals later this month in Springfield, Ill.

Utah placed at least one contestant in the top four in eight of 12 events.

Jacob Anderson of Niton Junction, Alberta, set a rodeo record with a score of 87 points on his final bull ride. He placed third overall and also won 100 silver dollars.

"I did one for Canada," Anderson said. "The bull kind of blew to the left and then right and spun real fast."

Tim Jeter of the Colorado team followed Anderson with a similar ride, picking up 82 points and placing second overall. Broc Burns of Terrington, Idaho won the event.

Ethan McNeil of Tooele, Utah, scored 82 points in his final ride to win bareback.

A pair of California contestants, Hollie Kucera and Tyler Boles, both of Atascadero, won the girls and boys cutting, respectively.

Other first-place winners included Naomi Knight, Montana, pole bending; Chalis Thacker, Utah, goat tying; Gabby Watkins, Reno, Nev., breakaway roping; Devun Day, Utah, calf roping; Kade Rogge, Idaho, steer wrestling; and Dylan Dishion and Jordan Warrack, California, team roping.

Martina Wardler, a 17-year-old senior from Levi, Utah, was crowned the 2007 Silver State International Rodeo queen, succeeding Miss California, Keiko Osumi.

The first runner-up was Ashley TenBrink of New Mexico. The second attendant was Mariah Rys-Sikora of Montana, and the third attendant was Karysa Perez of Reno. ------ Information from: Lahontan Valley News, http://www.lahontanvalleynews.com

(Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.) APTV-07-10-07 0618MDT

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