Six is becoming a lucky number for the Fallon High School Rodeo Club.
Six members of the club rode in the Silver State International Rodeo (SSIR) in Winnemucca last weekend, and while nobody walked away with accolades, six more of Fallon’s finest will be competing in the 2016 National High School Rodeo Finals in Gillette, Wyo., July 18-22.
Monyca Jensen, director of the Fallon High School Rodeo Club, said nationals marks the biggest competition for Fallon’s competitors, particularly in the sheer number being sent and the diversity of events.
“Last year we had a few, but this year we have quite a few more,” Jensen said.
Returning from the top 10 in last year’s nationals is the team of Cord and Caleb Hendrix who, this year, tied for fourth place in the state finals in team roping. Cord will be competing in saddle bronc and bull riding this year in addition to joining Caleb in cutting.
Including last year’s appearance, the Hendrix brothers’ experience from four appearances at nationals could easily give them the advantage they need to place higher this year.
“It could easily give them an advantage,” Jensen said. “In the last years they’ve gone to the competition, they’ve always done very well.”
Naturally this year’s state title team ropers Jake Cerini and Blain Jensen will be competing along with Mackay Spyro, who placed third in team roping, and Sam Goings who placed third in calf-roping. Goings, Cerini and Spyro were three of the six SSIR competitors along with Churchill County High School graduate Jess Tews along with Leighton Beyer and Matt Goings.
As recent high school graduates, Goings, Jensen and Cord Hendrix have one more chance at a national title in this division before moving onto the college level.
“They’re very excited to go still,” Jensen said of the seniors. “I know Blane and Jake have been roping quite a bit getting ready to go and Cord and Caleb have been roping quite a bit getting ready as well. It’s all in preparing.”
The journey to Wyoming is a big undertaking for any club funded by parents and fundraisers, particularly after the SSIR, but with three times the probability of taking home a state title this year, Jensen said the possibility is strong for second and last chances alike.
“I think it definitely solidifies Fallon in the (Central West) for sending quite a few kids,” Jensen said of how a strong Fallon presence helps put the rodeo club on the map. “I think Fallon produces quite a few strong competitors and some of those who have made it to nationals only help that.”
Even for the Hendrix brothers, however, the idea of a national competition can be intimidating, though; it’s all a part of the same preparation according to Jensen.
“I think mentally it can be quite challenging,” she said. “It can get into the kids’ heads, the thought of going to nationals, so they have to stay focused. But yes, it can be a mental challenge.”