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    Instilling western roots

    The Rocky View High School Rodeo is giving young athletes an opportunity to practice their craft in a world-famous rodeo venue.

    “We want to give these kids the opportunity to rodeo in Calgary, at the Stampede, something that a lot of them may never get to do,” said Event Director of the Rocky View High School Rodeo Dan Richard.

    “We try to make it as close to the real deal as possible, with sponsors, dignitaries Miss Rodeo Canada, Calgary Stampede Queen and Princesses,” Richard said.

    He added, “The high school rodeos are the real deal, the bulls are big, the barrel racers are fast. These kids are super competitive, and they are very good at what they do.”

    The high school rodeo has been going on for generations, Richard added, as cowboys are very protective of their way of life.

    Richard was the first in his family to compete in the high school rodeo, and his sons followed in his footsteps.

    “It’s cowboys doing what cowboys love to do,” Richard said.

    For pole bender, breakaway roper, and barrel racer McKinley Wall it was important to participate in the high school rodeo because it’s close to home, and the experience is extremely fun and rewarding for her.

    Wall is currently preparing for the rodeo by getting her horses back into shape by riding them every day, fine tuning the barrel racing pattern she will be implementing and roping a dummy to prepare for the breakaway roping competition.

    “I’m looking to keep my number two in the aggregate this season,” she said.

    Her ultimate goal going into the high school rodeo is to win the breakaway roping average, as she won the average at three other rodeos in the fall.

    Wall is treating the high school rodeo as a “pre-provincial” as she will be competing against other districts.

    “Although this rodeo is a big deal, I am treating it like just another rodeo weekend. I want to stay super consistent and secure some more points for provincials,” Wall said.

    The Rocky View High School Rodeo takes place April 19 until April 22 at the Nutrien Western Event Centre at the Calgary Stampede Park.