Pine teenage cowgirl Chelsie Stodghill, a familiar figure on the local rodeo circuit, has ridden her way to barrel racing second-place honors at the National High School Rodeo Championships.
In the event, which was held July 13 to 21at the Sweetwater Events Complex in Rock Springs, Wyo., the Payson High School sophomore entered the final round of 20 qualifiers sitting ninth overall.
Rising to the challenge like a true champion barrel racer, she turned in a run of 17.191 seconds which was the fastest time of the final round.
Her mother, Dee Dee — who accompanied Chelsie to the National Finals — called the run simply “Smoking.”
The run moved Chelsie from ninth to second place overall and earned her a buckle and scholarship money for turning in the fastest time of the round.
She was also crowned the Reserve National Barrel Racing Champion for having the fastest three-run average times. For that, she was awarded even more college scholarship funds as well as Gist Silversmith buckles and clothing products from Cinch Jeans, Ariat boots, Resistol Hats and Professional’s Choice.
During Chelsie’s first run, on the rodeo’s opening day, she had to contend with a huge storm accompanied by wind, rain and lightning.
“The arena was full of water and it was sill raining when Chelsie ran,” said her mother.
What resulted was a clocking of 18.097, which placed her 40th overall.
The second barrel run four days later was held in much better conditions and Chelsie took advantage, turning in an impressive 17.188 ET.
“The fastest time for the whole week,” said Dee Dee Stodghill.
For the final round, a standing-room-only audience turned out as well as television cameras from RFD-TV’s “Cinchtown Tour.”
Their presence gave observers and fans a chance to preview a small-town cowgirl who in a few years will most likely be turning in rodeo winning rides on the collegiate and professional circuits.
For the national finals, Chelsie rode her horse “Peso” — a steed she trained herself at the Stodghill family home in Pine.
Chelsie qualified for the National Finals by finishing second at the Arizona State High School rodeo championships held June 7-9 at the Payson Event Center.
Chelsie’s rides in the national rodeo can be watched on ihigh.com.
About 1,500 qualifiers representing high schools around the United States, Canada and Australia competed in the national championships.