Utah finishes on top again at Silver State Rodeo

FALLON - Domination and surprises highlighted the fifth and final day of the 19th annual Silver State International Rodeo.

First, the domination.

For the fifth straight year, the Utah team easily corralled another title, holding off a late challenge from Oregon at the county fairgrounds.

Nevada had a stronghold on second until Sunday when Oregon placed more contestants in the top four.

Although Alberta finished sixth, the cowboys from the Canadian province fared well in the rough stock events and calf roping to make the 1,800-mile trip to Fallon worthwhile.

Utah took advantage of its depth in the first and second go-rounds and took three first place wins including the all-around cowgirl. Wearing a gold blouse, Becky Butler performed cartwheels across the small arena to accept her all around saddle.

"If you do well, it's a tradition," said the recently graduated 18-year-old student from Spanish Springs.

Although she was in shock with her award, she wasn't surprised Utah won the team title.

"I knew we would do good if we kept at it," she said from the small arena.

The national director for Utah said the Beehive State is tough both at the SSIR and nationals. Utah has won the last three of four titles at the national high school rodeo.

"We bring a full team out here," said Ken Norris of Cedar Valley. "We have one of the largest state associations (to Texas)."

He said the Utah cowboys and cowgirls have the focus to compete and qualify whether it's for the nationals or the SSIR.

"This is a good event," Norris said of the SSIR. It prepares younger kids for the national finals."

Only the top four finalists from a high school state rodeo advance to nationals while the fifth through tenth advance to the SSIR.

On the boys side, Idaho's Casey Park earned the all-around cowboy saddle.

Bull rider Clem Lowry led the charge for Alberta with a strong first-place performance.

"It was a good bull. He almost had me bucked off but I had to stay on," the 16-year-old said.

The Canadian team dominated calf roping and steer wrestling and placed in bareback riding and goat tying.

"We got our game faces on and came here to win," said Lowry.

Lowry said he didn't know how well his teammates would do.

"It has been a pleasant surprise," Lowry said, smiling after he won both the short go and his first place saddle.

Montana's Jesse Kruse, the runner-up cowboy for all-around honors, finished with a win in the saddle bronc.

Kruse, a Great Falls student, said he felt confident going into the final round. Most of the competition couldn't stay on for eight seconds. Kruse, though, had a strong inclination that he would.

"I knew I could stay on and have fun. I wasn't worried."

Out of 11 finalists, only four completed their rides.

Fallon's Tyson Torvik finished third in steer wrestling.

Idaho's Ashley Nash was named as the queen of the rodeo. Nevada's Tess Harrer won the personality award and the impromptu speaking, giving her third attendant recognition.


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