This past weekend at the Minnesota High School Rodeo Association State Finals a cadre of local rodeo talent qualified for the National High School Finals Rodeo in Rock Springs, Wyoming this July 15-21.
To qualify for the NHSFR, competitors must place in the top four of their event/s at the state finals.
Leading the local charge is Teagan Gustafson, a recent Yellow Medicine East graduate. Gustafson earned All-Around Cowgirl honors at the state finals by capturing the championship in goat tying, the Reserve Championship in girls cutting and the Reserve Championship in breakaway roping.
“It’s really special,” said Gustafson about winning the All-Around Cowgirl title in her final year at the high school level. “It’s the highest honor you can get and when you work really hard for something it’s kind of nice to be recognized.”
Following Gustafson to Rock Spring will be brother Gannon Gustafson, who earned the Reserve Champion in boys cutting, Dani Aus—soon to be a senior at Yellow Medicine East—who was the Reserve Champion in goat tying and Brandon Agre—another recent YME grad—who qualified in bull riding.
Other locals competing at the National Finals include Jennifer Kack from Appleton (girls cutting), Kolten Weber from Watson (saddle bronc) and JD Struxness from Appleton (tie down roping, steer wrestling and team roping).
“I’m really sad it’s over,” said Teagan Gustafson of ending her high school rodeo career. “I’ve been rodeoing with these people since sixth grade. All that time together was great. I’m just thankful I got a chance to rodeo and meet such great people.”