TOPEKA, Kan. – The Kansas High School Rodeo Finals return to Topeka as the best junior riders in the state square off with a ticket to Nationals on the line.
“We have a lot of fans here from the city of Topeka all weekend,” said Shawn Hollenbeck, National Director of the Kansas High School Rodeo Association. “We love Topeka.”
The winners of this week’s competition will then qualify for Nationals next month in Wyoming.
“The competition is just outstanding,” said Hannah Holland, student president of KHSRA. “We have very strong competitors here, and there’s about 10-15 people in each event who could win it every time, so you just have to give it your heart.”
“We’re just all one big family, and we’re out for blood in this competition,” said Paige Wiseman, student vice president of KHSRA. “We’re yelling for each other, and everyone wants everyone else to do well.”
“This is next years champions in the professional ranks,” said Hollenbeck. “The stock here is tough, the bucking horses are extremely tough, and the bulls are very fast and mean.”
The Finals had been held in Hutchinson for the past several years, but now returns to Domer Livestock Arena in Topeka.
“I love Topeka,” said Wiseman. “This facility is great. They take excellent care of it. There’s a crowd every night that gets to come and watch us. It’s awesome to come to, and it’s my favorite place.”
“One of my friends told me, you compete from your neck down, and you win from your neck up, so I just try to have a good mental focus going in,” said Holland. “I know my horse is going to perform well for me, so I just have to trust him”
Finals night begins at 7:00pm on Saturday.