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Wylee Mitchell and her team of equine athletes recently competed at the Nevada State Finals in Winnemucca.
As an eighth grader, this was Mitchell’s last year to compete in the junior high division and she made it one to remember, competing in six events: barrels, poles, goats, breakaway, team roping, and ribbon roping.
Of those six events, Mitchell qualified for nationals in four and was also fifth in goat tying and 19th in pole bending. She and roping partner Desi Coombs finished third in the team roping. She won state in breakaway roping and ribbon roping, as well as a second state title in barrel racing. She finished fifth in the world last year when she competed at the 2017 finals held in Tennessee.
In total, Mitchell took home three saddles, 11 buckles, three pocket knives, as well as some other prizes.
This year the Junior National Finals, the world’s largest youth rodeo, were held in Huron, South Dakota – over 20 hours, one way, from Lincoln County. There were over 1200 contestants from all over the US, Canada, Australia, and Mexico competing for a world title at the week-long rodeo.
The rodeo consisted of two go-rounds. The judges took the top 20 average times of the two first go’s to the short go. Mitchell qualified in the top 20 in two of her events: barrels and team roping. She and her horse Jack were a little disappointed to wake up to a rainstorm on Wednesday morning. The rodeo was postponed an hour to try and let the storm pass. Although the arena was muddy and sticky, Jack ran a beautiful pattern. They clocked a 16.3 to finish the first go in 11th place.
On Wednesday evening, Jack must have known he had a lot of ground to make up. He ran a smooth fast pattern and clocked a 15.482, setting a new arena record, and finishing first in the second go. The short go was also successful for them; they clocked a fast 15.8 this time. Combined with the other two scores, this meant Mitchell finish third in the world.
In the team roping, Mitchell and her partner Desi came into the short go sitting in eighth place. They stayed consistent and roped smart which resulted in both girls moving up two spots and finished sixth in the world.
To qualify for the short go is extremely tough at nationals in any event. For Mitchell to make it back in two events, against the toughest competition in the nation, was an accomplishment. The young cowgirl spends many hours practicing to make herself and her horses better. She is known to do well under pressure, keeping her cool in the in tough competitions. In total, she has won 11 saddles, 85 buckles, and over $55,000 dollars in career earnings, yet she is know to stay humble, help kids out, and cheer on her toughest competitors.
Mitchell would like to thank all the friends and family that support her.