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Local youth rodeo stars win big

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Three Mission Valley high school students scored big at Montana’s state rodeo competition that wrapped up June 9.  

Despite having to weather quite a bit of adversity, Abby Knight came home with a first-place finish in barrel racing. Her state champion pole bending horse died just a few months ago, and her new horse’s back went out during the competition. 

“I saved my little horse for the barrels, and we came out on top,” Knight said. “It’s really fun; you couldn’t ask for more.” 

Prodigy steer wrestler and high school freshman, Will Powell, barely qualified for the competition. Powell was second to last in the rankings leading into the rodeo. Having just started steer wrestling three months prior, Powell only jumped on six to eight steers in practice. 

Even so, he climbed the leader board and came away with a victory. 

“It’s pretty cool being the freshman underdog and coming and winning it all,” Powell said.

Whyatt Lyton qualified for silver state in tie down roping, but will not compete as he has several other rodeos around that time. Both Powell and Knight will compete in the upcoming national rodeo in Rock Springs, Wyo., July 15.

The 64th annual National High School Finals Rodeo consists of 1,500 contestants from 41 states, five Canadian provinces and Australia. Powell and Knight will compete for more than $200,000 in prizes and $350,000 in college scholarships. 

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