Riding to Silver State | NevadaAppeal.com

Riding to Silver State

Steve Puterski
Leighton Beyer and members of the Fallon Rodeo Club will compete in next week's Silver State International Rodeo in Winnemucca.
Special to the LVN | LVN

Nine of Fallon’s best are set to take on an international flavor of cowboys and cowgirls at the Silver State International Rodeo.

The event, which used to call Fallon home, begins Tuesday in Winnemucca and runs through July 5.

Qualifiers are those who placed fifth through 15th at their respective high school state finals rodeos. The Fallon Rodeo Club had 10 individuals qualify, but Jessica Gomes (cutting and reined cow horse) opted to forgo this year’s event.

However, Leighton Beyer (barrel racing, team roping), Joleen Weir (barrel racing, goat tying), Sydney Felton (breakaway roping), Blain Jensen (team roping), Cord Hendrix (saddle bronc, tie-down roping), Caleb Hendrix (tie-down) and Matt and Sam Goings (team roping) will carry the Fallon flag.

Beyer, meanwhile, had a stellar rookie season as the freshman qualified in two events, barrel racing and pole bending, but since her horse was injured she already qualified in a pair of events, she was allowed to opt into another event.

Partnered with Dally Goemmer of Battle Mountain, Beyer will compete in team roping as well.

“It depends on the cattle, if they are slower maybe more people will catch,” Beyer said. “I don’t know what the teams are like at SSIR because I’ve never been there … but there will probably still be some pretty good competition.”

But a big challenge lays ahead of Beyer in barrel racing as she rides a secondary horse she has borrowed. Her first mare was injured at the Eureka rodeo, was nursed back to health, but then aggravated the injury at state before the short go.

So, Beyer hopped on a horse lent to her by Goemmel and rode to fifth-place in barrel racing, missing the national cut by 8.5 points. The sting of missing qualifying, though, is a motivating factor, she said.

“That horse brought me to where I was at state finals, so I think me and her can do pretty good in Winnemuca,” Beyer said. “I’m not going to worry about the other people there. If I beat myself every time, eventually I will beat the other people there.”

Breaking in a new horse isn’t as simple as one may think. Beyer said it takes time to figure out how the horse rides from reining, speed and how the animal responds to direction.

Beyer, though, overcame those obstacles to nab a pair of top 10 finishes at state (she was 10th in pole bending) to earn a place at the SSIR.

Since she’s only a freshman, Beyer enters her first big-time rodeo as an inexperienced cowgirl compared to her peers. Nevertheless, she said nerves have not built up because her expectations aren’t off the charts, not that she doesn’t want to go out and put her best foot forward.

“I want to go out and have fun because I have nothing to lose,” Beyer said. “I think it would be really cool if I did good. I’m just going to do what I do.”

As for the rest of the club, Fallon also boasts a number of talented athletes embarking on the SSIR.

Felton took eighth at state in breakaway roping, while Weir was 10th and 12th in barrel racing and goat tying, respectively.

Cord Hendrix was ninth in saddle bronc and 10th in tie-down roping, while his brother, Caleb Hendrix, placed seventh in tie-down roping. Mackay Spyrow, meanwhile, was ninth in tie-down.

Jensen finished 11th at state in team roping, while Matt and Sam Goings placed 14th.