ST PETER —
Chance and his mother say rodeo is a safe sport, though he got a concussion once after a head-to-head collision with a calf he was about to rope.
Nick Bjork, a Mankato sixth-grader, competed in an event called the “breakaway,” in which the rider ropes a calf. If the roping is successful, the rope breaks away and falls loose.
Bjork succeeds in less than five seconds, but gets a 10-second penalty for “breaking the barrier,” which is a little like a false start. Still, he’s pleased because many of his competitors will fail to lasso the calf altogether.
Like the other middle schoolers, he’s competing for the right to go to the national competition, in New Mexico. The high school students will have a similar qualifying tournament in two weeks in Hugo.
After his run, Bjork sped off on his horse, Barrett, taking a broad loop around the ring and coming back to the starting point to talk with a fellow rider.