The Free Press, Mankato, MN

St. Peter news

June 1, 2013

Youth rodeo draws hundreds to St. Peter


A mounted Jacqueline Lucas charges down the ring, makes a smooth dismount and begins to chase a small goat tethered to a stake.
The fleeing goat tries to turn quickly but falls to the ground, saving this seventh-grader from Jordan the trouble. She holds it down, ties together three of its legs and throws her hands in the air. It’s basically as if Jared Allen has recorded a sack, except that it involves middle-schoolers and little goats.
She finishes with a time of 15.25 seconds, roughly in the middle of a pack of 10 girls and about five seconds slower than the winning time. The dismount can be challenging, her older sister says, watching. Or the goat can be a problem.
“Depends on the goat,” she said. 
The sisters, Jacqueline and McKayla, were among 140 middle- and high-schoolers in St. Peter on Friday and Saturday to compete in one of the state’s last youth rodeo events of the school year. This is the sixth year this rodeo has been held in St. Peter.
Three of the four Lucas sisters are in rodeo, and these girls are drawn to the sport, as are many, by its tight-knit social group.
Chance Oftedahl, a Pemberton junior, agrees. Every weekend he can’t make it, he misses.
The sport is run by an independent association, not the state high school league. There are about 10 competitions in Minnesota in a given school year, though Oftedahl and others compete out of the state, as well. 
Like other athletes, many of these students are competing with a college scholarship in mind, said Chance’s mother, Leanne. He certainly is.
His favorite events involve a rope. He and his partner took first place in team roping earlier Saturday. 
These girls prefer the barrel race, which is a race against the clock, around a series of barrels. They like it because it’s just you and your horse. No calf to worry about, no judge’s opinion to wonder about.

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