According to Ann Sundermann, 52 of the 300 signed up for last week's State High School Rodeo Finals in Fort Pierre qualified for the National High School Finals Rodeo next month in Oklahoma.
That means each of the 52 finished in the top four in at least one of 13 horseback rodeo events, or in one of the two shooting events, or by winning the queen contest, said Sundermann, executive director the South Dakota High School Rodeo Association.
Tobi Hintz of Timber Lake was crowned queen of the 2020 South Dakota State High School Rodeo Finals. About 300 cowgirls and cowboys from throughout South Dakota competed June 16-20 in the state finals, conducted for the first time in Fort Pierre, Sundermann said.
The total of 52 qualifiers includes a tie for fourth place in the barrel racing, meaning five cowgirls qualified for the National Finals in that event, including Josi Stevens of Pierre, who qualified in four events last week, more than anyone else.
The awards were presented at a breakfast Sunday morning in the Casey Tibbs Center in Fort Pierre.
Josi Stevens of Pierre qualified in four events, the only one in the finals to do that in 2020. She won championships in pole bending and breakaway roping; took second in reined cow horse, competing against cowboys and cowgirls; and tied for fourth in barrel racing.
Nine qualified in two of the 13 horseback rodeo events, according to information from the association.
Six qualified in the two shooting events: trap and light rifle: Taylor Henkel, Jenna Kruger, Reese McKenna, Riley Newman, and Kaitlyn Sandland, according to information from Sundermann. She expects all or nearly all of the qualifiers to make the trip to the nationals.
During her decade running the organization, she remembers perhaps only one state finals qualifier who did not make the trip to the national event, Sundermann said. It's part of the big family involvement that brings campers, RVs and big horse trailers to high school rodeo events, she said.
Sundermann figured total attendance would be 5,000 to 7,000 during the five days of events at arenas at the Stanley County Fairgrounds in Fort Pierre. That's what the state finals had been drawing for several years when it was held at Belle Fourche. Next year it will again be held in Fort Pierre.
The National Finals Rodeo, July 17-23 in Guthrie, Oklahoma, includes high school cowboys and cowgirls from 43 states and five Canadian provinces, as well as Mexico and Australia. It was relocated from its earlier site in Lincoln, Nebraska due to concerns about that venue fitting the restrictions needed because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Here are the top four finishers in the 13 horseback rodeo events last week in Fort Pierre, according to the SDHSRA:
Breakaway Roping: Champion Josi Stevens, Pierre, 73 points; Sawyer Gilbert, Buffalo, 71 points; Charlie Henwood, Belle Fourche, 61 points; Jenna Fulton, St. Lawrence, 49 points.
Pole Bending: Champion Josi Stevens, Pierre, 76 points; Tessa Caspers, New Underwood, 75 points; Bridget Romey, Hot Springs, 74 points; Chantel Kolb, Belle Fourche, 58 points.
Reined Cow Horse event: Champion Dawson Phillips, 12th grade cowboy, Winner, 88 points; Josi Stevens, 12th grade cowgirl, Pierre, 76 points; Sage Bach, 11th grade cowboy, Florence, 75.50 points; Dawson Kautzman, ninth grade cowboy, Capitol, Montana, 66.50 points. (Capitol is just across the Little Missouri River a mile from the South Dakota border.)
Barrel Racing: Champion: Landry Haugen, Sturgis, 69 points; Tessa Caspers, New Underwood, 68 points; Chantel Kolb, Belle Fourche, 63.50 points; Bridget Romey, Hot Springs, 61 points and Josi Stevens, Pierre, 61 points.
Girls Cutting: Champion: Landry Haugen, Ninth grade, Sturgis, 83 points; Jenna Fulton, 11th grade, St. Lawrence, 77 points; Sawyer Gilbert, 12th grade, Buffalo, 66.50 points; Chloe Crago, ninth grade Belle Fourche, 61 points.
Boys Cutting: Champion: Bodie Mattson, 12th grade, Sturgis, 85.50 points; Caden Stoddard, 9th grade, Kadoka, 78.50 points; Trey Fuller, ninth grade, Faith, 73.50 points; Hugh Groves, 12th grade, Faith, 73.50 points.
Bull Riding: Champion: Dylan Bradford, Selby, 78 points; Thayne Elshere, Hereford; 68 points; Jack Rodenbaugh, Box Elder, 65.50 points; Riley Shippy, Colome, 51 points.
Saddle Bronc: Champion: Clint Donaldson, Sturgis, 84 points; Talon Elshere, Hereford, 68.50 points; Teigan Clark, Meadow, 64.50 points; Malcolm Heathershaw, Quinn, 63 points.
Bareback Riding: Champion: Cooper Filipek, 11th grade, Rapid City, 88.50 points; Chase Yellowhawk, ninth grade, Blunt, 84 points; Colton Shelley, 11th grade, Nisland, 78 points; Iver Paul, 12th grade Faith, 70 points.
Steer Wrestling: Champion: Tegun Spring, 11th grade, Enning, 74 points; Logan Lemmel, 11th grade, 72 points; Talon Elshere, 11th grade, Hereford, 68 points; Wyatt Tibbitts, 12th grade, Hot Springs, 68 points.
Goat Tying: Champion: Shantell Brewer, Dupree; 79 points. Michaela McCormick, Salem, 64 points; Layne Stevens, Pierre, 63.50 points; Acelyn Brink, Newell, 61 points.
Team Roping: Champions: Rio Nutter, Rapid City, 70 points, and Bodie Mattson, Sturgis; 70 points; Denton Good, Long Valley, 64 points and Linkyn Petersek, Colome, 64 points; Justin Tekrony, Clear Lake, 59 points and Jace Tekrony, Clear Lake, 59 points; Tegan Fite, Hermosa, 59 points and Chance Derner, New Underwood, 59 points.
Tie-Down: Champion: Linkyn Petersek, Colome, 83 points; Ty Moser, Wolsey, 80 points; Sully Paxton, Onida, 60 points; Rafe Wientjes, Onida, 51 points.
(An earlier version of this article did not include the qualifiers in the shooting events and the queen.)