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April 28, 2017
There are few students who would think of joining high school rodeo as their choice of sport. Maybe it is the thought of riding animals three times their size for fun that scares them away. That is not the case of siblings junior Caitlin Pott and freshman Brandon Pott. They have embraced the old frontier thrill of riding horses and roping cows.
The National High School Rodeo Association is an organization that puts on rodeos for high schoolers grades 9-12. The junior high division is for grades six to eight. Rodeos are in both spring and the fall with the state finals and nationals in summer.
Caitlin and Brandon got into rodeo at a young age, but their family has owned horses since before they were born. Their neighbors, the Weirs, have been roping a long time, which sparked their interest in it.
“In third or fourth grade I was introduced to horse shows by a friend of mine. I went over to Jed Weirs house to practice,” Caitlin said.
“When Caitlin started, I went to a few rodeos to watch and I decided to try it,” Brandon said.
Rodeo events range from barrel racing to bull riding, but the Pott siblings chose roping as their skill of choice. The timed events involve team roping, breakaway roping, tie down roping, barrel racing, pole bending and goat tying, which they both do quite well.
“My first year I only did breakaway roping, goat tying, barrel racing and pole bending. The second year, I started team roping with a girl named Molly but after her I team roped with a guy named Devin Olsen. Then after that I started with my brother Brandon and it’s been a year and a half since then,” Caitlin said.
The Pott’s friends have been a huge support for them, going out to watch and cheer them on. But it is difficult to go out and watch sometimes; not because rodeo is hard to watch, but because sometimes rodeos can in places up to 5 hours away like the Winona or Marshall rodeos.
“It’s fun watching them. You want them to do good. It’s almost like watching yourself out there cause you’re so close,” junior Sophi Jensen, a life long friend of the Potts, said.
The High School Rodeo national finals rodeo is a goal for most-if not all, cowboys and cowgirls in both junior high and high school. Brandon went to the junior high national finals for goat tying. Caitlin and Brandon also hope to go again this year as a team in the team roping.
“I got to compete with kids from all over the U.S., some from Canada and Australia,” Brandon said.