Just a day prior to the opening of the Arizona High School Rodeo Association season competition, which tipped off Sept. 15 at the Payson Event Center, Chelsie Stodghill was looking forward to the challenge of next year competing on the national prep scene.
“I want to get there, that’s my goal,” she said.
Living up to the challenge, the Pine teen cowgirl rode her way to a barrel racing first-place finish in a very quick 17.098.
She set the winning mark during the Saturday rodeo. The first-place finisher on Sunday, Carter Blackmore of Hillside, was timed in 17.420.
On Sunday, Stodghill struggled to an 18.863 ET, but nonetheless had the fastest time over the course of the two days.
Stodghill, a Payson High School junior, opened the new season having been a second-place barrel racing finisher at both the AHSRA state meet conducted June 7 to 9 in Payson and at the national championships held July 13 to 21 in Rock Springs, Wyo.
Her time there of 17.191, which was the fastest of the week, was one her mother, Dee Dee, called, “Smokin.’”
Stodghill also earned herself 5.5 points in the AHSRA standings by finishing sixth on opening day in the breakaway roping in 4.370.
In the team roping on Saturday, Chelsie teamed with her younger brother, Bryce, a PHS freshman to take third in 10.070. Chelsie was the header and Bryce the heeler.
Also in the team roping, Payson High freshman Monty James hooked up with Tanner Baldwin of Vail to finish 11th in 12.640. James was the header and Baldwin the heeler.
Bryndee Hall was Payson’s lone representative in the Arizona Junior High School Rodeo Association season opener held in conjunction with the high school showdown.
Hall highlighted her weekend of competition with a first-place finish in Sunday’s edition of the pole bending. She was clocked in 21.034.
On Sunday in barrel racing, she ran an 18.166 to take fifth. A day earlier, she was timed in 19.00 and was 11th.
In girls breakaway on Saturday she was third in 5.340. During the first day of goat tying, she turned in a time of 12.330 and was seventh among 19 entrants.
A field of about 700 cowboys and cowgirls on both the junior high and high school levels entered the weekend rodeos that marked the beginning of the 2012-2013 season.
Next up, is the Arizona State Fair rodeo to be held Oct. 25 in Phoenix. The season wraps up in June 2013 back in Payson.