ROCK SPRINGS, Wyo. — Shai McDonald of Gardiner posted her third consecutive top-8 finish in barrel racing at the National High School Finals Rodeo.
The rodeo, which began on July 21, wrapped up Saturday night at the Sweetwater Events Complex. The rodeo featured more than 1,500 competitors from 43 states, five Canadian provinces and Australia.
Haiden Thompson, of Yoder, Wyoming, was the top rookie cowgirl with 280 points.
McDonald finished a career-best second in the final standings with a total time of 52.776 for three runs. She had entered Saturday night’s championship round in fourth place.
The Montana state high school champion and two-time Northern Rodeo Association champion also placed eighth in 2018 and fourth in 2017 at the NHSFR. She also competes in the Montana Pro Rodeo Circuit.
Montana put three of its four bareback qualifiers into the final round. Reigning state champion Brice Patterson of Bozeman finished fourth overall with 219 on three rides. He scored 72 points in the championship round.
Helena’s Sam Petersen was 11th (203) in the final standings, while Sebastian Hotalen of Three Forks was 15th (180). Townsend’s Ty Owens was one place shy of competing Saturday night.
Jhet Murphy of Helena was 16th in the steer wrestling standings with a total time of 15.96 seconds. Murphy and his brother Luke also missed competing in the final round of team roping by one place.
Big Piney pair Arye Espenscheid and Kolby Bradley led the Wyoming contingent with a second-place finish in team roping. The two had a total time of 20.24 for three loops.
Other places for Wyoming were: Brooke Worman, Clearmont, goat tying; Colt Ramsey, Pinedale, fifth boys cutting; Kaden Berger, Gillette, steer wrestling; Blake Afdahl, Torrnington and Clay Reiner, Buffalo, eighth, team roping; Ellie Bard, Sheridan, ninth, barrel racing and 12th in breakaway roping; Maddie Fantaskey, Worland, 11th; reined cow horse; Payton Kottwitz, Lusk, reined cow horse; Wyatt Phelps, Pinedale, 13th, bull riding; Maddie Wolf, Gillette, pole bending; Wes Bray, Casper, 18th, boys cutting.
Year-end champions were: Keenan Hayes, Colorado, bareback; Macee McAllister, Utah, barrel racing; Chaser Crouch, Texas, boys cutting; Dallie Bastian, Texas, breakaway roping; Caden Bunch, Oklahoma, bull riding; Shad Mayfield, New Mexico, tie-down roping; Ryann Packard, Texas, girls cutting; Taitum Thomas, Oklahoma, goat tying; Kenna Coronado, Utah, pole bending; Clayson Hutchings, Utah, saddle bronc; Jace Logan, Colorado, steer wrestling; Karson Davis and Bryce Graves, Mississippi, team roping; Ali Norcutt, Nevada, reined cowhorse.
Mayfield is the son of two-time National Finals Rodeo qualifier Sylvester Mayfield. The younger Mayfield is currently second in the PRCA rookie tie-down roping standings to Haven Meged of Miles City.
Logan was the all-around cowboy, while Coronado was the all-around cowgirl.
Texas (12,260) won the overall team title. Wyoming was seventh (5,232) and Montana 14th (2,585).