ROCK SPRINGS, Wyo. — Advertised as the “World’s Largest Rodeo,” the National High School Rodeo Finals begin Sunday at the Sweetwater Events Complex.
The rodeo features more than 1,600 competitors from 43 states, five Canadian provinces, Australia and Mexico. There will be two full go-rounds of competition with the top 20 in each event qualifying for the championship round on July 20.
Montana competitors qualified by being among the top four in the final year-end standings after the state finals in Baker in June.
Top qualifiers among the Montana contingent include Jhet Murphy and Luke Murphy of Helena in team roping and Gardiner barrel racer Shai McDonald.
Jhet Murphy and Luke Murphy finished seventh in the final 2018 national standings, while McDonald was eighth.
Wyoming finished 11th in the team standings a year ago while Montana was 19th.
The national high school finals move to Lincoln, Nebraska for 2020 and 2021. The event will be in Gillette, Wyoming in 2022 and 2023 before returning to Rock Springs in 2024.