No one should ever be able to question the toughness of Aaron Heberger and Keston Denny.
Heberger, a Galena High senior, and Denny, a Douglas High junior, compete for the Carson-Douglas High School Rodeo Club. Heberger's typical rodeo includes jumping off a horse to wrestle a 500-pound steer and riding a horse to rope a calf by himself and with a partner.
Denny's typical rodeo includes jumping off a horse to wrestle a 500-pound steer and riding a 2000-pound bull. The two will be at it again this weekend when the Carson-Douglas club hosts its rodeo in which high school competitors from across the state will compete. In the past, the club was known just as the Carson Rodeo Club, but has merged to be called the Carson-Douglas club this year.
In conjuction with the Washoe Rodeo Club, the cutting events will be held on Friday at Harrah's Ranch in Reno. The rodeo will held at 9 a.m. Saturday and 8 a.m. Sunday at Fuji Park.
Tickets are $3 per person per day and $5 per person for the weekend. Tickets are $1.50 for senior citizens and six and under are admitted free.
Drawing tickets for a quarter beef donated by Gardnerville's Devere Dressler at $5 each will be sold at the rodeo as well.
The goal of every high school rodeo competitor in Nevada is to place in the top four in the state to qualify for the National High School Rodeo Finals to be held this year in Wyoming. Qualifying for the nationals will be held at the state finals to be contested June 16-20 in Battle Mountain.
Heberger qualified for last year's nationals in calf roping and is well on his way to qualifying again this year. Heberger is in a close battle with Fallon's Jade Corkill for the calf roping state title, with Corkill holding a slight lead over Heberger, who's in second.
Denny is also having a successful year and has a good chance to make nationals as well. Denny won the bull riding and the steer wrestling on his way to winning the all-around title at the Moapa Valley Rodeo earlier this year.
Heberger and Denny also continued their success this past weekend at Fallon. Denny won Sunday's go-round in steer wrestling with an outstanding time of 4.0 seconds while Heberger took sixth in 11.2. "I drew a good steer, it made it easier," Denny said.
Heberger said it will be more difficult to qualify for nationals in steer wrestling this year.
"Steer wrestling's pretty tough this year," Heberger said. "It's the toughest it's been since I've been in high school."
Heberger placed third in Saturday's go-round in calf roping at 13.38. Denny also placed sixth in Sunday's go-round in bull riding.
Carson High's Alyce Kugler and Douglas High Brianna Nalder also had outstanding efforts in Sunday's go-round in barrel racing. Nalder took third in 18.277 seconds and Kugler was sixtgh in 18.266 seconds.
Heberger has already received two full-ride scholarship offers from two junior colleges in Texas - Howard and Frank Phillips. After competing on the JC level, Heberger plans to compete at a four-year school as well.
Heberger's best time in calf roping is 9.5 seconds. "Anything in the single digits is a pretty good run in high school. Some calves are harder to tie down than others."
The calf roping title should come down to "whoever draws the best calves, whoever can mmake the best runs," Heberger said.
Being in Carson this weekend should be an advantage, Heberger said. "It's a little more comforting," he said.
Heberger was also one of the top all-around finishers in the state last year, but with more participants in cutting this year, Heberger is finding it more difficult to place as high in the all-around. Heberger doesn't exactly look down on cutting, but he's not exactly fond of it, either. "I think it should be in a league of its own," he said. "I just never really got into it."
In team roping, Heberger is teamed with Mesquite's Lori Hardy. The two came together after their partners left them for someone else.
"They jump around quite a bit," said Heberger about switching partners. "it's upsetting but there's nothing you could do."
But Heberger and his female partner went on to take second at last year's Silver State Rodeo in fallon. When asked if he and his partner got the last laugh, Heberger said, "I guess you could say that."
Heberger would have won the state calf roping title last year had he not been disqualified after his trainer rattled the chute in the first go-round. Heberger settled for third.
Last year's nationals were a learning experience, Heberger said. "I didn't place very well," he said. "I was kind of overwhelmed by all the competition. I didn't know what to expect. I think I'll have a better head going in this year."
Denny, who also competes in team roping, said he didn't have an explanation as to why he chose to compete in steer wrestling and bull riding. When asked what possessed him to do both, Denny said, "I don't know."
Charles Whisnand is the Nevada Appeal Sports Editor. Contact him at email@example.com or 881-1214.