Carson-Douglas Club to host rodeo
It’s become the serious time of the season for high school participants in rodeo as the top competitors are jockeying for position with an eye on qualifying for the National High School Finals Rodeo.
And there are several members of the Carson-Douglas Rodeo Club who are right in the thick of the points standings, hoping to qualify for nationals. The stretch drive to qualify for nationals begins April 13-15 when the Carson-Douglas club hosts a Nevada High School Rodeo Association event at the Douglas County Fairgrounds.
The cutting will be held at 11 a.m. April 13 at the Corley Ranch while the rest of the rodeo will be held at 10 a.m. April 14 and 8 a.m. April 15.
The top competitors in the state are looking to be at their best heading into the State Championships to be held June 14-17 in Winnemucca. The top four in the state will advance to nationals to be held in July in Springfield, Ill. The fifth through 10th place finishers will qualify for Fallon’s Silver State Rodeo.
Several members of the Carson-Douglas club have been consistently turning in top 10 performances this season. They include Alyce Kugler in girls cutting, Byron Kreck in boys cutting, Elyse Heberger, Cory Hershkowitz in bareback riding and Karysa Perez in pole bending.
Spencer Osterling, who advanced to the National Junior Rodeo, also broke through for a third place finish in bull riding last weekend at the Fallon Rodeo.
Kugler and Hershkowitz look to have the best chance to advance to nationals. Kugler went to nationals last year and Hershkowitz is currently fourth in the state standings in bareback.
There’s also Gardnerville’s Jonathan Glocknitzer, who competes as an independent. Glocknitzer went to nationals last year in boys cutting and is having another successful season this year.
“We have a lot of people in the top 10,” said Kugler, a Douglas High senior. “Everybody’s doing really well.”
“It’s a tossup right now,” said Kugler about how many in the club can make it to nationals. “Everything changes at state.”
Kugler has also competed in other events, but will now concetrate solely on cutting.
“It’s been OK,” said Kugler about her season. “It was kind of a rocky season at first. We still have a lot of cutting to go.”
Competitors will have their top nine overall performances count in the points heading to state and Kugler said she plans to pile up the points toward the end of the season.
In cutting, competitors must keep one of the cattle from the rest of the herd. Competitors who can keep at least two cattle from the rest of the herd in the time limit of two minutes, 30 seconds receive the higest scores. “The draw’s the really big thing,” Kugler said.
With a borrowed horse, Kugler was able to finish 21st at last year’s nationals after struggling in the first go-round. “That was pretty good with a borrowed horse out of 150,” Kugler said.
Kugler said the plan is to take her own horse this year if she makes it back to nationals. She plans to continue competing in the National Cutting Horse Association. She hopes to win enough money competing to help pay for her attending the University of Nevada.
This week, Kugler and the rest of the club not only have to worry about the competition, but organizing the rodeo as well. Luckily for many of the club members, they’ll be organizing the rodeo during Easter Vacation when school’s out.
“It’s a lot of work,” Kugler said. “We have tons of people volunteering and helping. We have a lot of work ahead of us.”
Among those making the rodeo possible are local ranchers, the Parks Ranch, Jessica Ledbetter, Russell Scossa, Carson Dodge’s Steve Christian and the Corley Ranch’s Johnny Raper.
Hershkowitz was third in the standings before falling to fourth. “It’s bittersweet sitting fourth,” said Hershkowitz, a Dayton High sophomore.
Hershkowitz could move up in the standings, but not in the way he wants. Fallon’s Taylor Ethridge, who’s in third, has an injury. Hershkowitz trains with Ethridge. “We’re pretty close,” he said. “I don’t want to see that happen to anyone.”
Hershkowitz credited his trainer, Mario Ciucci, for his success. “I’m not losing my feet,” he said. “I’m keeping my feet under control.”
The feet and legs are an important part of bareback, Hershkowitz said. “That’s 90 pounds right there working against you.
“The more weight you have working for you, the less weight you have working against you. Right now is when the competition gets the toughest up to state.”
Osterling, a freshman at Carson, has moved up from riding 800-900 pound bulls to riding 1,600-1,900 bulls. Fallon was his first successful ride in high school.
“It felt good finally getting out of my slump,” Osterling said. “I just got on not thinking about other things or problems.”
Osterling is 6-1, taller than most bull riders. “There’s a lot more power, but when you make the ride you know you’ve done your job,” said Osterling about making the adjustment from junior to full-size bulls.