By Kyle Partain, NHSRA Media Coordinator
Cody Devers likes the Kansas High School Rodeo Association so much, he drives all the way from Texas to compete in steer wrestling. Granted, the drive from his home in Perryton, Texas, to the high school rodeo in Garden City, Kan., the last weekend in September was only about three hours. Some NHSRA contestants regularly drive farther than that to compete in their home states.
The son of 1979 NHSFR Steer Wrestling Champion Marty Devers, Cody certainly looked like a chip off the old block when he took second in the second round at the 2013 NHSFR in Rock Springs, Wyo., last summer. Unfortunately, a no-time in the first round kept him from qualifying for the short round and a shot at adding a second national championship to the family resume.
Not to worry, Cody is well on his way to a return trip to Rock Springs in his final year of high school rodeo. He won both rounds of bulldogging in Garden City with runs of 5.33 and 5.16 seconds. Riding his own horse and having his dad on the other side as his hazer, Cody is confident in his ability to be successful this season.
“My horse is really fast and true,” said Cody of his 13-year-old horse. “Like today, I was late — about a foot off the barrier — and he caught me up and put me right in the five (second) hole. He was a little green when we got him. If you didn’t get off, he was going to go through the end of the fence. I always get off, even if I’m a little wide.”
Between rodeo and competitive baseball, Cody and his parents are used to spending time on the road, so the additional travel to compete in Kansas is no big deal.
Michaela Peterson is another senior who has one year left to accomplish all she can in high school rodeo. A 2013 NHSFR qualifier in goat tying, she’s hoping to get there in breakaway roping as well in 2014. She didn’t do much in the breakaway roping in Garden City, but she left town with the goat tying average buckle after runs of 7.765 and 7.989 seconds in the event. She placed second on Saturday and fourth on Sunday, but proved to be the most consistent goat tyer for the weekend.
A team roper, as well, Michaela hauls just one horse to compete in her three events. Danny, 19, has been her horse since she started junior high rodeo.
“Dad heeled off of him, but when I started junior high rodeo I trained him for breakaway,” Michaela said. “He’s been mine ever since. He’s pretty solid in the box. He likes breakaway roping the best.”
Timber Allenbrand knows a thing or two about breakaway roping. The sophomore won a national championship in the event at the 2012 National Junior High Finals Rodeo, and qualified for the NHSFR in both breakaway and barrel racing as a freshman. But her first trip to the NHSFR wasn’t exactly a dream come true. A broken foot (caused by a spooked horse in the pasture) and sick horses kept her from accomplishing much in Rock Springs.
Her foot and her horses were finally on the mend when she made the trip to Garden City, where she earned all-around cowgirl honors for the weekend. Competing in a handful of events, Timber was glad to see that the rodeo was co-sanctioned with the Kansas Junior High Rodeo Association.
“With the junior high, we get to space out the events a little more, which makes it easier for everyone who’s in a bunch of events,” she said. “My mom’s here and she helps me saddle the horses, doctors everyone and does everything that needs to be done.”
For more on the Garden City Rodeo, check out the October issue of the NHSRA Times.