Area kids shine at National Junior High Finals Rodeo

Lima’s Kaden Lappe heads a steer and Dillon’s Coby King swings a big healing lop at the National Junior High Finals Rodeo. The pair placed second in the first round. Shelly King photo


Local contestants Hailey Garrison, Coby King and Kaden Lappe all had strong runs, doing Beaverhead County and Montana proud last month in Iowa at the 10th Annual National Junior High Finals Rodeo (NJHFR).

In its first year in Des Moines, the NJHFR saw 970 contestants take part in a week of rodeo action June 22–28. The event was created in 2004 to bring the excitement of the sport to sixth, seventh, and eight graders, and to help prepare young cowboys and cowgirls to compete at the high school level.

All 47 states and provinces that belong to the National High School Rodeo Association now have junior high programs in effect.

After two rounds of competition at the Iowa State Fairgrounds, the top 20 young cowboys and cowgirls, based on their two round combined times and scores, moved on to compete on Saturday night in the short go round.

Lappe and King have been roping together for over four years and their experiences together paid off in the second round, when the local pair turned in a 6.82 to stake a spot in second place.

The Beaverhead County duo had gone early in the round and were forced to sit patiently and watch, as one team after another made their way into the Jacobson Center and Livestock Pavilion. 

After the dust had finally settled, the two were placed fifth in the round but in 23rd spot for the combined rounds, which saw them fall just short of making the final 20. 

“It is a lot different than anywhere else,” said Coby King, who will be a freshman at BCHS in the fall.

“You have to be really into the mental game. Of course, you are going to be nervous, but for me I just think about what I am going to do right.”

King comes from a line of a great rodeo competitors in his family, and travels to many NRA rodeos with his older brother, Carson, the reigning Montana team roping state champion.


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