Although it was a different-looking rodeo with only the participants’ family in the stands, Austin County’s representatives still put on a show at the Texas High School Rodeo Association’s state finals at the Taylor Telecom Arena at the Taylor County Expo Center in Abilene last weekend.
A pair of rodeo competitors with Bellville ties came away with the co-All-Around Cowgirl title after tying atop the rankings with 68 all-around points after the first rounds on June 12 and final runs on June 13. Jayci Byler, a rising junior at Faith Academy of Bellville, registered 103 total points across four events while Robbin Rice, a recent graduate of Bellville High School, scored big in two of her three events to climb the rankings.
Bellville had two other male athletes participating in the rodeo, Sealy had a male and female each and San Felipe and Wallis had a female and male representative, respectively.
Two of the THSRA’s 10 regions competed at a time for the right to represent the lone star state at the National High School Finals Rodeo competition in Guthrie, Okla. Originally slated for Lincoln, Neb., the National High School Rodeo Association announced on June 5 that the national finals has been moved to Guthrie’s Lazy E Arena between July 17 and 23 due to coronavirus restrictions in Nebraska.
Byler punched her ticket to Oklahoma with fifth-place overall finishes in cutting and barrel racing as well as a fourth-place spot in pole bending to account for all but eight of her 103 total points scored. Rice used third-place finishes in the cutting and reined cow horse events to rack up more than 30 all-around points in both disciplines.
Also representing Bellville near the top of the standings was another Byler, Blaze, a rising sophomore at Faith Academy. Participating in steer wrestling, Blaze needed no more than nine seconds in each of his three go-arounds to finish his work and collected 22 all-around points for his performance.
Riding out of Sealy, Kera Lamb took 12th in the goat tying competition with an average time of 25.12 and Samantha Perko represented San Felipe by finishing fourth in the cutting horse event with a total score of 438.