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Rodeo brings state’s best to fairgrounds

Ryan Walker struggles to stay on a bull during the Sheyenne Red River Rodeo at the Schollander Pavilion in West Fargo this past Sunday. Carrie Snyder1 / 4
Jossi Meyer participates in pole bending during the Sheyenne Red River Rodeo. Carrie Snyder2 / 4
BreAnne Benson and Joslin Forness of West Fargo watch the pole bending event at the Red River Valley Fairgrounds. Carrie Snyder3 / 4
Goats wait for their turn in the goat tying event. Carrie Snyder4 / 4

The Sheyenne Red River Rodeo Club held its 39th annual high school rodeo over the weekend, bringing nearly 200 ropers and riders from across North Dakota to the Red River Valley Fairgrounds.

Typically one of the largest high school rodeos in the state, the Sheyenne Red River Rodeo’s participation numbers were similar to that of the past few seasons. Despite the frantic nature of such a large event, things went fairly smoothly for the club and its participants.

“It has gone pretty well,” rodeo club president Jeff Foss said. “Everything has been on schedule and going as planned.”

The students – both boys and girls at the high school and junior high levels – were able to take part in 24 different events in the three-day meet that kicks off the spring rodeo season.

Kindred eighth-grader Keaton Rustad, who took part in five events, started his spring season with one of the top chute dogging times on Saturday morning, wrestling his steer to the ground in 2.28 seconds.

“It’s going pretty good so far,” Rustad said. “It has me feeling pretty energetic and enthusiastic for the rest of the season.”

Picking up after the winter break, the students jumped back into rodeo with some tightly contested events, keeping the season standings close with five rodeos left this season.

“Everybody is excited for the season now,” Foss said. “There are a lot of good, contested races right now, as far as where everyone is in the standings. In a lot of events, it is anybody’s game right now.”

Rodeo fans filled the fairgrounds’ two arenas – a positive thing for a club experiencing a slight decline in numbers, according to Foss.

“The fans have been great,” Foss said. “We want to encourage more and more to come out, and hopefully we can get some more kids interested in the rodeo.”