Fallon’s best are on display as the quest to qualify for the National High School Finals Rodeo begins today.
Actually, the Nevada State High School Rodeo officially kicked off Wednesday with the queen competition and Thursday with cutting at the Churchill County Fairgrounds.
Today’s action, meanwhile, starts at 9 a.m. at the fairgrounds with the first performance, minus the rough stock events. Rough stock, along with the second performance, rides at 7 p.m. The rodeo concludes Sunday where the first and second gos begin at 9 a.m.
Despite the new format, Fallon’s best cowboys and cowgirls are ready to put it all on the line to earn a berth to nationals.
Rachel Hendrix, the defending All-Around cowgirl, currently sits in the top four in two events plus she’s No. 2 in the All-Around standings. Hendrix said her goal was to qualify for nationals in every event and can do so with a “consistent” performance.
The recent Churchill County High School graduate is in second place in barrel racing, third in cutting, fifth in goat tying and sixth in pole bending and breakaway and team roping.
Athletes must finish in the top four to qualify for nationals.
“I’m just going to take on run at a time,” Hendrix said. “I just try to take one event at a time. Even if I have back-to-back events, I try to take a minute and visualized that event.”
Hendrix’s fringe events, though, do not cause any added concern for the soon-to-be University of Southern Utah cowgirl. She knows the pressure is there, but consistency, not winning, is her main focus.
“I don’t need to be fast, I don’t need to win and that will keep above the others,” Hendrix said. “The thing about state is girls get nervous and make mistakes when the forget it is an average (of points). You just need to make three good, consistent runs.”
Her younger brother, Cord, a freshman at CCHS, is in the midst of a breakout season in bull riding. After the regular season, Cord Hendrix stands in first place in bull riding and sixth in team roping, who he partners with his sister.
Cord Hendrix said he must stay focused throughout the weekend, although he has assistance of his veteran sibling.
“My expectations for this weekend are to go out and make three solid rides,” Cord Hendrix said. “Just go out and try to cover all three bulls.”
Bull riding, though, is a different breed of sport. A massive, angry animal is more than eager to fling its human counterpart off its back as soon as possible, while the cowboy hopes to ride for 8 seconds.
Despite those factors, Cord Hendrix said he doesn’t fear the bulls and instead, focuses on his ride and hitting the 8-second mark.
“It’s not like most sports,” he said. “You can’t really be afraid when you do it. You can’t think about it. When you get down in there, you don’t think about what you’re doing. You just worried about what you’re doing when you’re riding.”
Along with the Hendrix’s, the Fallon Rodeo Club is represented by Sam Goings and Billy and Kellie Quillan.
Going is eighth in team roping and 19th in tie-down roping, while Billy Quillan is tied for sixth in bull riding.
CCHS junior Sydney Howard, who rodeos for the Washoe County Club, is also having a spectacular season in goat tying. After a rowdy goat got the best of her last season and knocked her out of the top four at state, Howard aims to not let history repeat itself.
She is first in goat tying, fifth in breakaway roping, 11th in team roping and 12th in the All-Around standings.