Locals Excel In Season Opener

Two-time high school rodeo national qualifier Chelsie Stodghill, 17, of Pine, competes in barrel racing in the Arizona High School Rodeo Association season-opener in Payson Sept. 21. The Payson High senior won the second go-round.

Two-time high school rodeo national qualifier Chelsie Stodghill, 17, of Pine, competes in barrel racing in the Arizona High School Rodeo Association season-opener in Payson Sept. 21. The Payson High senior won the second go-round. Photo by Keith Morris. |

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It was a big weekend for Payson area youngsters as the Arizona High School Rodeo Association and the Arizona Junior High Rodeo Association seasons got under way at Payson Event Center on Sept. 21-22.

Bryndee Hall had an eventful weekend. The Rim Country Middle School eighth-grader, who qualified for the junior high nationals this summer, was first in the second round of breakaway roping, second in the second round of ribbon roping, fourth in the first round of goat tying and fourth in the barrel racing second round in the junior high event. She finished third in the all-around.

Jesus Perez, a senior at Payson High School, won the saddle bronc riding first go-round. He also took home the buckle for most points.

Another PHS senior, Chelsie Stodg­hill, a two-time qualifier for the high school nationals, took first place in barrel racing in the second go-round.

Monty James, PHS sophomore and a 2012 junior high nationals qualifier, finished third in the calf roping second go-round.

Other entrants from Payson included Bryce Stodghill, Brylee Hall, Quinton Wells, Denton Petersen, Trey Hale, Matt Lowery and Payton Petersen.

Rodeo secretary Penny Hansher said the season is off to a strong start.

“Things are looking great,” she said. “There are lots of new kids. There were 40 more high school kids and 10 more junior high kids entered here this year than there were last year. Kids come here from other states.”

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