For the latest Canby sports news, follow @CougarCountryOR on Twitter, and catch The Canby Current’s weekly sports podcast on iTunes, Spotify, Google Podcasts, Amazon Music and at cougarcountry.podbean.com.
A recent Canby graduate will represent Oregon in two events at the 74th annual National High School Finals Rodeo in Gillette, Wyoming, later this summer.
Katie Ayres, a member of the Class of 2022 who graduated from Canby High School last month, lassoed a position on the Oregon Nation High School rodeo team thanks to her prowess in barrel racing and her favorite event: goat tying.
Featuring more than 1,650 contestants from 44 states, five Canadian provinces, Australia, Mexico and New Zealand, the NHSFR is the world’s largest rodeo.
In addition to competing for $150,000 in prizes and another $150,000 in cash, contestants will also vie for more than $375,000 in college scholarships and the chance to be named NHSFR world champion.
To earn this title, contestants must finish in the top 20 — based on their combined times or scores in the first two rounds — to advance to Saturday evening’s final round. World champions will then be determined based on their three-round combined times or scores.
The daughter of Trista and Brandon Ayres — who both competed on the high school rodeo circuit — Katie has been rodeoing since the third grade and seemed destined to go far in the sport. But a spot on the national team always eluded her — until now.
“Nationals has been a goal of mine for a long time,” she told the Current. “I had some trouble making the cut the last three years, horses getting hurt and stuff like that.”
The national team qualifiers are drawn from the best performers over the course of the Oregon High School Rodeo Association season and the state finals in Prineville. The top four in each event are chosen and, when the season wrapped up earlier this month, Ayres mistakenly believed she had missed the boat again.
“I was bummed because I didn’t know I had qualified,” she recalled. “When my mom told me that I had actually made it in two events, it was awesome. I was super excited.”
Instead, she and her family will be loading up her barrel-racing and goat-tying horses, Raisin and Duncan, and heading to the Equality State to join hundreds of the world’s top high school rodeo cowboys and cowgirls next month.
“I’m excited to compete,” Ayres said. “It’s the best competition in the world for the high school level, and it’s just super fun. You meet lots of people from other states and countries.”
In between rodeo competition at the premier Cam-Plex Event Center, the NHSFR contestants will have the opportunity to mingle with peers from around the country and the world, and take part in volleyball games, dances, family-oriented activities and church services sponsored by Golden Spur Ministries.
The National High School Finals Rodeo kicks off on July 17 and runs through the 23rd. Live broadcasts of each day will air online at thecowboychannel.com, with the championship performances being nationally televised as a part of the Cinch High School Rodeo Tour telecast series on RFD-TV.
Daily results and more information will also be available at NHSRA.com.
Help us build a sustainable news organization to serve Canby for generations to come! Let us know if you can support our efforts to expand our operations and keep all of our content paywall-free. #SwimWithTheCurrent!